Background: The following essay provides a rather comprehensive summary of the state of NSDAP propaganda just before the beginning of World War II. It is a report on a training course for party propagandists held from 24-26 April 1939.
The source: “1. Lehrgang der Gau- und Kreispropagandaleiter der NSDAP.,” Unser Wille und Weg, 9 (1939), pp. 124-139.
The first course for Gau and county (Kreis) propaganda leaders was held from 24 to 26 April at the Ordensburg Vogelsang in the Eifel region. Participants included officials from the Reichspropagandaleitung [the party propaganda central office] led by staff leader Comrade Hugo Fischer, the Gau and county propaganda leaders, the leaders of the Departments of Active Propaganda, Culture, Film, and Radio, as well as the leader of the Gau Ring for National Socialist Propaganda and People’s Enlightenment.
After the introduction by staff leader party comrade Fisher, the following speakers addressed the gathering:
Reichsamtsleiter Walter Schulze, head of the Department for Active Propaganda, spoke on:
It may seem unnecessary today, six years after the seizure of power, to discuss the theme “Is propaganda still necessary?” Still, I begin my speech today with it:
Example Nr. 1: It is not all that long ago that a “comrade” wrote the following letter to the Reichspropagandaleitung:
As of today I have been elected as propaganda leader of the local group of the NSDAP. In order to follow the directives of the Reichsleitung, etc....
Example Nr. 2 (February 1939):
A bookkeeper for a governmental women’s clinic called the party leader responsible for his building and requested a rebuke. To understand his request, here is the background:
The government women’s clinic, to legitimize itself from the NSDAP’s standpoint, had a picture of the Führer only in the director’s office. The party leader, when informed of the situation, called the bookkeeper and ordered him to buy about 210 Führer pictures which in number and size would correspond to the number of crucifixes in the building.
That’s the background. Now for the bookkeeper’ rather amusing problem. He had ordered the first 26 Führer pictures, and now was being criticized. His superior demanded that he explain in writing “whether acquiring Führer pictures for rooms in the government women’s clinic is absolutely necessary.”
Example Nr. 3 (17 January 1939):
A miner wrote in primitive, but perhaps because of that easily understandable, German to the Reichspropagandaleitung, asking if one could help him establish whether his 14-year-old son was a Mischling, that is, a half-Jew. He included several items, including a picture of the lad (?) and the notarized attestation of a doctor, which had the following amusing phrasing which we here provide in full:
Hans ... from ..., Beethoven Street 43, born on 9. 12. 23 was examined by me today. The foreskin is fully present. He has not been circumcised.
Signed, Dr. ...
Name of town, 17. January 1939”
There followed an official seal.
These three examples, which could certainly be supplemented by a number of similar cases, are enough to show how necessary propaganda still is today.
But that is not the reason a propagandist should take up his work for the Führer’s movement, but rather from the conviction that it was, is and will remain his duty “to open and win the hearts of the last German citizen for Adolf Hitler and his idea.” I emphasize the “heart,” for if we had been able to get the idea across, the above three people would have understood us and would today be National Socialists in the truest sense of the word.
We see ourselves as propagandists of the Führer in the service of his movement. Our area of service is: the propaganda of the NSDAP.
I want to stress these words: “It [propaganda] was, is and remains, and indeed in its unshakable nature that developed during the struggle for power.” By that I mean first, that we will continue to do everything that put us in a position to help the Führer take over the Reich, and second to eliminate everything today that dulls the sharpness of our weapons.
On the first point, let me give several examples. “In the beginning was the word.” This sentence, made vivid to the entire people by the painting of Comrade Professor Hoyer, fills thousands of speakers today with pride. They are called to stand alongside the Führer in the midst of the people and proclaim his word and his idea. They serve the movement today as they have always served it. They are as willing as ever to sacrifice their time, their strength and health, their money, their spare time, their household duties, and their family lives.
They stand before the people not only at the high points of National Socialism, during referendums, or the return of Austria, the Sudetenland, or Memel to the Reich. Since 1933 they have beaten the drums again and again, until even the last German heard the call of the Führer.
We know of no other time in history and no other nation on earth that can claim such a fanatical army of proclaimers of an idea. For the first time ever, National Socialism has built a shock troop that went to the very front, conquered the territory, and now dominates it. The leaders of this army know that the conquest can be held only by using the same means that were used it making it. The movement won the battle lacking nearly every technology of propaganda. It is clear that National Socialism conquered the hearts of the people only with heart, and that for the proclaimers of his idea the following is true:
“The mouth speaks because the heart is full.”
Let us now go with the speaker to his arena, the meeting. The speaker has the right to expect that National Socialist meetings and mass meetings today be the same as they were during the struggle for power. That means that the meeting chairman has not only the duty to guarantee a good attendance using all the tested methods of the struggle for power, but also to be sure that each meeting has the proper National Socialist fighting spirit.
First of all, it is not enough to place a good advertisement for the meeting in the press. Rather, just as before the many-sided appeal of propaganda must reach everyone in order to achieve a true people’s community by full attendance at each National Socialist event. That requires leaflets, posters on telephone poles and elsewhere, word-of-mouth propaganda, the timely involvement of party divisions and affiliated organizations and, not least, flyers in every family’s mailbox, whether printed or mimeographed.
The propaganda wardens of the German Workers Front and the block leaders must see to it that the meeting is announced in all suitable places in factories and bulletin boards of the party. The party’s propaganda leaders must regularly encourage this. It is clear that such broad and comprehensive propaganda for the meetings and mass meetings of the party will build the unified image of the party, its divisions and affiliated organizations.
Experienced propagandists will have no difficulty avoiding forbidden methods, such as ordering whole factories to attend or filling the hall with party formations, etc.
We also need to focus our attention on the meeting halls themselves. The primary command is this:
“The meeting rooms of the party must be consistent with the dignity of the movement and the purity of its idea.”
In the past we have eliminated the Kitsch that now and again appeared. As a healthy body eliminates that which is unhealthy, the National Socialist movement has eliminated the excesses of 1933.
For twenty years, it has proven to be best to depend on the speaker for the effect of the meeting. Here, too, it is clear that we must resist attempts to turn our meetings into ceremonies. That does not of course mean that music or a choir cannot contribute usefully to a meeting. To the contrary, they can help to set the mood that will help the speaker to give the best that he has: his whole heart. Evening after evening, power streams from the hearts of the speakers into the veins of the people, and lets them experience the Führer and his work, and thus celebrate National Socialism in the best sense.
[Note from the editor: In our next issue, we will carry further remarks of the head of the Department for Active Propaganda, Walter Schulze, on the slide show system of the NSDAP and other areas of activity of his department]
Reichsamtsleiter Walter Tießler, Head of the Reich Ring for National Socialist Propaganda and People’s Enlightenment on:
If we are to understand the work of the Reich Ring for National Socialist Propaganda and People’s Enlightenment, along with its Gau, county. and local group subsidiaries, we must keep in mind its development and the reasons it was established.
After the seizure of power, we knew that all areas of party activity, propaganda included, were very decentralized. The various subsidiaries and affiliated organizations of the party, as well as other German organizations with propaganda offices, largely did not see the necessity to follow the party’s propaganda directives, but rather wanted to go their own way wherever possible. The result was that not only were different problems handled at the same time, they were handled in different ways. That inevitably produces uncertainty and mistrust on the part of the population. We can still see the results of this fragmented propaganda today in the most varied areas of our ideological and national life.
I do not want to mention difficulties with the churches here, but rather content myself with this example. I was asked by a rather important office of a Gau how it could be possible that SS-Men were allowed only to marry girls with blond hair and blue eyes! When I replied that there was no such rule, I was informed that there was indeed a rule under which such girls had to be racially unobjectionable, which surely meant that they must have blond hair and blue eyes!
To end this fragmentation, the Assistant to the Führer issued a ruling in 1934 that laid out who was responsible for the various areas. The Reichspropagandaleiter was obviously responsible for propaganda. The Reichspropagandaleitung was given the responsibility of establishing a way to ensure the unity of propaganda, of leading the individual propaganda offices. At first, it attempted to meet the task through the existing department of “Active Propaganda.” When the head of “Active Propaganda” determined that the job was too big to be handled by his department and that a special office within the Reichspropagandaleitung was necessary, the Reichspropagandaleiter [Goebbels] established the Reich Ring for National Socialist Propaganda and People’s Enlightenment, along with its Gau, county, and local rings.
At first, the propaganda rings consisted of liaisons from party propaganda offices at the Reich, Gau, county, and local group levels. As “liaisons of organizations,” representatives from other organizations were also added. At first we limited participation to leading organizations, but later we saw that it was necessary to include other associations, to include a liaison even from the most insignificant group. Gau Greater Berlin was the first to show the way, though Gau Bayerische-Ostmark began almost simultaneously. This proved that a unified leadership of every last association was necessary not only in large cities, but also in more rural Gaue.
The organization of the propaganda rings was extraordinarily difficult, since at first they had no clear organizational structure. As this problem became increasingly clear, the Gau propaganda leaders asked that the Gau and county rings have the same organizational structure as other main departments already had. At the request of the Reichspropagandaleiter, the Assistant to the Führer then declared the Gau and county rings main departments. The local group propaganda leader was responsible for local group rings in smaller groups, with a special political leader taking responsibility only in larger local groups. The importance of establishing the authority of the Gau, county, and local group rings is shown by the difficulties in leading all the propaganda offices in the party’s subsidiaries, affiliated organizations, and other organizations. We could regularly see that not all offices were exactly eager to follow the party leadership. In each case it is important to guarantee the unity of propaganda and to be sure that the work is consistent at every level from the Reich down to the local group. This becomes still clearer when we consider the individual tasks that flow out of the general responsibility to secure the unity of propaganda.
If a task is to be organized, it is necessary to organize the people who will carry it out. For this reason, it is necessary to continually organize the propagandists. This happens in personal meetings, but also at meetings of the Gau, county, and local group propaganda rings, through which the comradely cooperation of propagandists is encouraged. That requires that the leaders of the Gau, county, and local group rings speak to important meetings of propagandists of the various organizations and always remind them that the work of each individual organization has meaning only when it fits into the larger propaganda plan of the NSDAP.
In courses lasting several days for the propagandists of the party’s subsidiaries and affiliated organizations, as well as those from other organizations, the propaganda work is organized in a unified way. We did not begin this simultaneously in every Gau, but rather first gathered the experiences of Gau East Prussia. Alongside this organizational work, directives, and guidelines affecting the whole propaganda strategy are given, as well as those specific to individual Gaue, which are carried by Gau or county newsletters. To ensure proper organization of propaganda actions, it is necessary that details both of content and scheduling be reported to the relevant Reich, Gau, county, or local group ring. The content must be examined to see if it is consistent with the general propaganda plan, or whether it must be changed or postponed. With regards to scheduling, it must be emphasized that there are a few Gaue under the mistaken impression that offices other than the propaganda office can change a schedule. The decision as to whether a meeting is necessary or not must be made on the basis of the morale of the population. It is solely a matter of propaganda to determine the necessity of a meeting and to establish the schedule.
With regards to propaganda as a whole, it is necessary to guide the activities of the individual organizations, e.g. large campaigns such as winter relief, elections, national holidays, the Four Year Plan, etc. Amtsleiter comrade Fischer has decided that, in order to guarantee the unified activities of the Gau, county, and local group rings in the production of brochures, books, etc., and to avoid their misuse, the use of Gau rings for national campaigns can be approved only by himself or the Reich Ring. Naturally, the Reich Ring will support the work of the individual offices and organizations.
The role of membership and professional gatherings should not be underestimated as a way of organizing some parts of the population. Particular issues can be discussed, but there is also the opportunity to reach particular groups with particular questions and to deal with problems associated with a particular profession.
Association and professional publications are another way to assist overall propaganda goals. This must be constantly evaluated from a propaganda point of view. Furthermore, articles can be provided to the association or professional press on important occasions such as elections, the Four Year Plan, etc. This helps ensure that every last citizen is informed on important questions.
It is obvious that brochures and posters must be examined to be sure they are consistent with the goals of propaganda. For this reason, all printed matter must first be approved by the responsible propaganda leader to be sure that the material is appropriate from the standpoint of propaganda, or whether it may in fact be unnecessary. In summary, the Gau, county, or local group propaganda rings give the relevant propaganda leader an instrument by which he can organize all propaganda in a unified way and use all propaganda offices and means of the party’s subsidiaries and affiliated organizations and other organizations. It gives him a way to reach every last citizen with propaganda. It is also clear that a propaganda ring leader can be effective only when his authority is clear both in an organizational and personal sense. It is not enough that the propaganda ring leader receives the necessary authority through his position in the whole propaganda system; propaganda leaders must also ensure that each organization knows and understands that the propaganda ring leader is its representative for all questions of propaganda from the party’s subsidiaries, affiliated organizations, and other organizations. A propaganda leader will be able to fulfill his important duties if he is able to organize and lead in a unified way every organization from the biggest society to the smallest club. A leader of a propaganda ring must possess not only abilities as a propagandist, but also the ability to achieve his goals more through cooperation than discipline. Only after he determines that a representative of a given organization cannot be lead because he is unwilling to be lead should he resort to discipline. Then it is necessary to act resolutely in the interests of the party, without worrying about his popularity. Our goal is not to be popular or unpopular, but rather it is to tirelessly and fully do our duty: To secure the primacy of the party in the area of propaganda, which also means to guarantee the unity of propaganda!
State Secretary Syrup from the Ministry of Labor spoke on:
State Secretary Syrup began with an overview of the labor field, which far surpasses that of any other nation. The Reich has 40 million workers, over against 22 million in England and France, 18 million in Poland, and 2.5 million in Belgium. As large as the tasks we face are, we must remember that this enormous labor force is Germany’s wealth. The Reich before 1933 squandered this resource and tried to explain its failure with the excuse that these millions of unemployed workers about 25 million in Europe and the USA, with Germany in the lead were the result of the world economic crisis. This same Reich that because of the world economic crisis was unable to employ these millions of unemployed was nonetheless able to find 28 million RM to spend on absolutely unproductive unemployment assistance.
The speaker went on to prove how false the assertion was that the world economic crisis was responsible for unemployment. Despite the continuing world economic crisis, Adolf Hitler was able to eliminate unemployment. This achievement was possible only because of the activities of National Socialism and the power of our worldview. Our idea was assisted by financial policies of the state, which spent 5 or 6 billion RM to build the economy. This was possible only because the government acted without regard for short-term results. Germany broke with liberal thinking and saw that the long-term results would justify the expenses.
State Secretary Syrup said that it had been necessary to devote special resources to areas with a particularly high unemployment rate, for example, Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, etc. To eliminate unemployment in these areas, it had been necessary to prohibit people from moving into these areas, for example. Other difficulties resulted from the age differentials among the unemployed and the preference of employees to hire younger workers. The seriousness of this problem is demonstrated by the fact that during a given period, two-thirds of the 18-30 year old unemployed found jobs, but only a third of older workers. By reviewing hiring practices in factories, among other measures, as well as military service on the part of younger workers, the problem was largely alleviated. These measures meant that by 1936 the slogan “to each a job” could be replaced by the slogan “to each his job,” as suggested by the Führer at the beginning of the campaign. In light of today’s shortage of skilled workers and the major demands of the Four Year Plan, the need to increase Germany’s security, etc., that needs once more to be changed. Today it is no longer to give each the job he wants, but rather to give each the job that he is best able to do. This means that some workers must return to former jobs. State Secretary Syrup stressed how important it is to guide occupational choices of the youth, particularly with regards to skilled trades. After dealing with questions of manpower use, State Secretary Syrup went on to discuss job changes, particularly in view of the shortage of skilled labor. He explained the necessity of regulations restricting job changes in certain occupations. Job changes not only cause the loss of valuable work time, but unsettle other employees and reduce production.
The need for such regulations to control the labor force and to ensure peace and security is proven by the serious labor shortages. There are 300,000 job openings in agriculture, 600,000 in commerce, and 300,000 in the medical system.
The pressing shortage of labor in important branches of the economy endangers numerous smaller firms, which guarantee neither sufficient financial return nor the full use of the employees. A further source of workers not yet used but available is the 2 to 2 1/2 million daughters of our people who so far are not employed. The women’s service year is a first step in this direction. Some suggest that we should persuade Germans living outside our borders to return to Germany as a way of finding more workers. State Secretary Syrup said that the conditions for such a return did not presently exist, and that these racial comrades are German pioneers abroad who are important supporters of our exports.
A further important question is how to stem the flight from the countryside. State Secretary Syrup said that a major reason for this was the rural population itself, which encouraged family members to take up other occupations. The seriousness of this migration is shows by the fact that alongside the 2 million farm workers who have left agriculture for other occupations, 4.5 million farmers’ sons and daughters have left their farms and sought other occupations. This fact demonstrates the necessity of measures to stop the migration. Naturally, there are other problems causing this migration that need to be solved. One method to reduce the problem, State Secretary Syrup suggested, is to increase mechanization, which requires a reduction in prices for equipment and energy, etc., as well as changes in social structures and relationships.
Reichsamtsleiter Neumann, head of the Department of Film in the RPL, spoke on
He began with a discussion of the value of film in propaganda. He first discussed the film propaganda during the First World War of Jews who had left Germany. He showed how this filthy Jewish work had caused hatred and dislike of the German people throughout the world both during and after the World War. Bolshevist Russia also used film in propaganda for its revolutionary idea. We can easily enough recall their work from the period of the System [before 1933] when we think, for example, of the film “Battleship Potemkin.” Comrade Neumann also mentioned that the film system of Bolshevist Moscow also was an example of the extermination of the intelligentsia under terror.
Comrade Neumann next discussed the necessity for National Socialist leadership in the area of film. He mentioned in particular the role of the state film offices in educating the people, in influencing both their taste and their will, so that they will accept National Socialist policies and production leadership. Direct political propaganda is less significant here than influencing culture, education and entertainment. The influence of film on the people is demonstrated by the fact that 45 million people, among them 13 million children, attended the various Gau film shows of the NSDAP.
Comrade Neumann then discussed the reasons why the party has so far produced few films. He concluded that the party’s film work should primarily promote particularly good films produced by private companies. This also allows greater influence on those firms. The speaker concluded with an appeal to strengthen film propaganda in the Gaue and counties and to make them a means of propaganda that can at any time serve the community.
Reichsamtsleiter Kriegler, Head of the Radio Department of the RPL, spoke on:
Comrade Kriegler showed the significance of the party’s radio work for political leadership, world view education, and the whole National Socialist life and building program of our era by tracing the development of the radio offices of the party during the struggle for power. He noted that even many party members failed to see the necessity of the radio warden organization. It was vital during the NSDAP’s struggle for power to create an organization that could handle the technical details of mass meetings, as well as to protect and maintain that equipment. At that time our enemies controlled the government, and obviously had no interest in making such a propagandistically valuable tool available to our leadership. The organization the party built meant that, once we were in power, we had the expert, technical and artistic ability to use this propaganda apparatus. The listener organization that our radio wardens built was also an important legal means we could use to call a listener strike, a method that gained us the respect of the radio’s leaders of the time.
After the seizure of power, we had a trained radio warden corps that was ready from the beginning to participate in many propaganda campaigns and political measures of the party and state.
The speaker then talked about the wishes of many Gaue and regions for more radio stations, and said that propagandists must not forget that there are world agreements on frequencies that are hotly debated at international conferences. Germany has a rather favorable number of frequencies at its disposal, and therefore has an interest in not upsetting international agreements by constantly asking for new ones.
The necessity to reach all regions and groups of the country by radio, free of interference from outside, has led to the development of wired radio. This new technical development makes radio independent of the airwaves and enables programming to be carried by cables that cannot be interfered with by foreign jamming. This system is being built throughout the country, and is already available in many Gaue.
Related to this is the construction of public loudspeakers and community radio. The public loudspeakers are limited to larger cities, but community radios will be extended to even the smallest area, giving the Führer and his associates the opportunity to reach the people at any time. To reach this goal, each radio leader must see it as his task to be a middleman between audience and station, helping the German radio to find an ever increasing audience.The regular campaigns by the Radio Department of the RPL to provide radio receivers to poor citizens help to reach this goal. In 1938, for example, there were 1,755,000 new listeners. An additional 156,811 new listeners came from German Austria. There are already 846,466 small receivers, and 400,062 people’s receivers were sold during the same period. Radio office heads also have many tasks in advising and helping landlords and renters, as well as providing help with antennas.
In conclusion, comrade Kriegler gave a brief overview of the major new tasks for the party’s radio offices. He mentioned above all television, which is already being tested in the Reich.
Ministerialdirektor Lange from the Ministry of Economics spoke on:
Party comrade Lange stressed at the beginning of his remarks that the National Socialist state viewed money only as a means to an end. Money is only a medium of exchange, for which we expect something in return. This is particularly clear from National Socialist finance policy from 1933 to 1935. The Reich pumped billions of marks into the German economy to build employment. Such a policy would necessarily have led to inflation in a liberal state, but that did not happen in a National Socialist controlled state because these billions were transformed into accomplishments.
The sensitivity with which the economy reacts to each influence from outside or to changes requires extreme caution. Changes must be slow and well thought out. That explains why, for example, the German Reichsbank remained anchored in old financial thinking until its reorganization. The result were that the activities of the capital market frequently moved against the needs of the community without the necessary planning and goals. That sometimes resulted in expenditures that sometimes were that did not help savings or planning. That led, among other things, to surpluses in the so-called Locklöhne, which necessarily led to disruptions in the economy. Party Comrade Lohne stated that the Reichsbank may not carry out its own financial policies, but rather must serve the common good. No one but the Führer determines the main political policies, which finance and the economy as a whole must follow. The new Minister of Economics and President of the Reich Bank, Party Comrade Funk, will do that. With his appointment, the German central bank, the Reich Bank, has become an instrument serving National Socialist policies.
Such a transformation does not happen without opposition both at home and abroad, which means the party membership has the responsibility to explain and help in the implementation of National Socialist principles. The propagandist must follow these guidelines in his educational work:
Moving to that theme, party comrade Lange spoke of the necessity to guarantee the materials essential for our nation, such as fuel, Buna, new raw materials, etc. He went on the discuss the viability of these materials, which is sometimes questioned. There can be no question of viability, since if the world does not supply Germany with these essential materials, we are forced to procure them ourselves, in which case the market price has no significance for us. These new materials not only free Germany from dependence on other countries, but also have the advantage that they can be manufactured in ways suitable for a wide range of end uses. This alone makes new materials superior to the old natural products.
The speaker emphasized that the state has no intention of establishing a monopoly in the production and use of the new materials. This process is entirely the responsibility of private enterprise. This does not mean that the National Socialist state favors the independence of the economy. If such is attempted or if the economy is unwilling to do what needs to be done, it is ready to react energetically, as the example of the Hermann Göring Works demonstrates. Such a policy is entirely consistent with the National Socialist outlook, which believes that politics governs the economy, that politics, not economics, determines the fate of the nation.
The importance of this principle in the economy is clear from the fact that in 1938 the available contracts far exceeded the production capacity. The economy, which only a few years ago was in weak condition, now needs guidance to meet the demands placed on it.
Guiding production is not a problem of money, merely a question of organization. An essential requirement for such guidance is stability. This stability cannot be threatened by offering excessive wages to attract workers .
In summary, party comrade Lohne said that National Socialist economic policy rests on three pillars: raw materials, work force, and financial capacity. Careful guidance in these three areas will avoid difficulties.
In this regard, the incorporation of Austria, the Sudetenland, and Bohemia and Moravia has not been a burden, but rather a positive gain.
A further goal of National Socialist economic policy has to do with the stock market. Just as the work force and labor policy have been freed from liberal profit seeking, so too the money and credit markets in the National Socialist state have been freed from uses that are interested only in profit. Money and its use, too, must serve the community, not the greed of the individual.
Ministerialdirektor Lange explained that through controls on the capital market, the means necessity to build low income housing have been guaranteed.
National Socialist financial policy assures everyone that the financial and economic policies of the Reich are secure, and that inflation, a betrayal of the people, a theft of their work and accomplishments, will not occur. That is a sure result of Hitler’s way, will, and actions.
Staatsraat Willy Börger, Ministerialdirektor in the Reich Ministry of Labor, spoke on:
Party comrade Börger began by noting that a great idea can never be extinguished by shedding the blood of its adherents, but rather than shed blood only gives it renewed life.. History shows that such an idea can be defeated only by a stronger and better idea. Our task is therefore to strengthen and deepen this new and powerful idea in the German people, an idea that has overcome all others. One of the most important aspects of this effort concerns the German youth. We must bring them under our influence and make them immune to attempts to reach them with foreign and divisive ideas. How easily such a foreign idea can take root in a people is showed by the common phrase “the poor Jews,” which has its origins in the thinking of the churches.
Party comrade Börger discussed questions of good and evil. For us good is always what is good for the people. The good must always be clear, for as we have always said, “to be German means to be clear.”
In dealing with the enemies of our world view and their teaching, party comrade Börger outlined the goals of the National Socialist worldview. Both today and in the future, our goal is to see to it that each individual is increasingly aware of the people and its thought, that he sees himself as links in an eternal chain, as a bearer of future generations. He should be proud of his position and learn the history and life of his people. He should not bother about things that do not concern him and have no significance for him. He should be brought out of the confusion that has developed over the decades from the conflicting teachings of religion and Marxism. Only through constant repetition of his own nature will the German person be converted to a way of thinking that was previously foreign to him. Our faith and will for the Führer must grow through our work to an understanding of our Germanness. Then our idea will be the only idea and Germany will be eternal.
The high point of the day was the speech of the Special Representative of the Führer for the Supervision of the Entire Spiritual and Worldview Education of the NSDAP, Reichsleiter Party comrade Alfred Rosenberg on:
Party comrade Rosenberg began his speech with a discussion of the tasks of education and propaganda. Education has the responsibility to form the will and the idea, independent of existing conditions. Propaganda’s task is mobilize the forces, deal with current issues, and deepen the idea.
In discussing worldviews, party comrade Rosenberg observed that the pre-war generations probably had worldviews. They lacked a defining experience of the kind that the World War was for the National Socialist worldview. The National Socialist worldview has caused a world struggle that many peoples feel today. We must distinguish between questions that only concern the German people, and those that involve the rest of the world. We do not have a desire to transplant parts of our worldview to other nations. We have no wish for a National Socialist federation of nations, which would then require a kind of church council to determine what true National Socialism is. On the other hand, questions about the Jews, Free Masonry, and democracy are things that also concern other nations.
The propaganda that the rest of the world directs against Germany is the result of the thinking of the world’s leading men. They owe their positions to the democratic system and will perish if it perishes. They fight against us because they fear that they will be defeated and be forced to resign. party comrade Rosenberg gave an historical overview of the movement of Europe’s center. For 400 years, Europe’s western nations represented it to the rest of the world. Today, as was the case 1000 years ago in the time of the great German emperors, Germany once again leads Europe. The might that once stretched from the Baltic Sea to Sicily has been restored by National Socialist Germany and Fascist Italy.
Once again Germany is defending Europe against the attack of the East. This gives our struggle a German significance and a European mission. Some may think that given the last 400 years of German history, Germany is not a politically significant nation, but rather a nation of philosophers, inventors, etc. But one must recall that German history is far longer than these 400 years. Party comrade Rosenberg emphasized the necessity of making this fact clear in education and propaganda to the German people.
It is necessary to do so, for Germans are only in the position to accomplish great things and give full energy to the struggle when they understand the inner meaning of the struggle and of their actions.
Mussolini once said that without Rome, Christianity would have remained a Syrian sect. Without German strength, Christianity would have remained confined to the Mediterranean Sea.
We know today that the old world is dying and that we are seeing the struggle for a new world. In the past the German people conducted worldview struggles with great intensity. The same is happening today. We are witnesses that what we have already done is beginning to happen elsewhere as well.
In discussing our worldview, party comrade Rosenberg observed that it is no mere theory, but rather proved its strength and character in our fourteen-year struggle for power. Our struggle today is a continuation. Our faith gives us strength for battle. This faith must become the will and living faith of the entire German people. To do that is the task of the movement.
The National Socialist worldview is an attitude, an attitude that must show a courageous face to the outside, but domestically be infused with camaraderie. If the people are to continue to believe in the National Socialist movement, the movement must maintain and guard this camaraderie and pass it on to the future. The struggle behind us is unique. Future generations will be spared such a struggle. It must be replaced by a firm attitude, which can only be tested in every day life. Our task is to reawaken the old values of courage and pride in our people, and to do all that we see as necessary.
In conclusion, party comrade Rosenberg noted that world history today must be rewritten, and that we will do the rewriting. It would be a mistake to delegate the task to the teachers and professors who wrote previous histories, for they grew up under the old world and were educated in it. The 2000 year old Christian age is dying and a new National Socialist world under Adolf Hitler is being born. The youth are growing up in this new world. Our task is to serve these ideas and to lead the struggle. Then we will be able to look confidently into the future.
Reichsamtsleiter Geiger, Head of the Reich Propaganda Office of the German Labor Front, spoke on:
Party comrade Geiger began by stressing the necessity of the absolute unity of the party and its members. This will only be possible if the movement becomes more and more like a holy order. The absolute security and existence of the nation is assured only as long as the movement affirms such a position. The correctness of the policy was clearly shown during the struggle for power, which there were only two rules for National Socialists. One was “The Führer is always right.” The other was “The enemy is lying.” These two principles and the unity of will were the foundation of the movement’s later victory. History too provides many examples of movements that were defeated by their opponents only after they had lost absolute internal unity.
Frederick the Great established two orders: the German officer corps and the German civil service. Both followed the order principle of absolute duty. To these orders that lasted for centuries and accomplished great deeds. Adolf Hitler added the order of camaraderie. The movement now has the duty to practice this order principle of camaraderie given us by the Führer. That rules out any possible internal dissent within the party. Party members, and political leaders especially, must be models of behavior and sacrifice to other citizens.
Party comrade Geiger then turned to his area. If one understands the concept “creative person,” one understands the German Labor Front. Germany today is once again a national community. This is the work of the worker Adolf Hitler, a man through whose belief in the German worker gave that worker renewed faith in Germany. The German worker kept his faith despite constant betrayals, despite the efforts not only of his leaders but also of the foolish attitude of certain circles which stood aside from the German people, and always did his best for his people. The Führer’s measures in the most varied areas should above all deepen the pleasure of the German worker in his work in building the new state.
Reichsamtsleiter Motz, head of the Department of Agricultural Policy, spoke on
Party comrade Motz began with an overview of the significance of guaranteeing our food supplies for the development and political freedom of the German people. He showed how Reich minister party comrade Dr. Darré had decided on radical measures to free German agricultural policy from the liberal past. The establishment of the Reich Food Estate and the development of a market system for agricultural products was absolutely necessary. The German people has grown in number and expectations, requiring more foodstuffs which have been secured through the production battle. The battle required leadership and guidance, which has been provided by the Reich Food Estate. How superior the party’s leadership of agricultural production is to the old liberal system is shown by the production battle. For German farmers, increasing production is uneconomic, since increasing the fertility of the soil requires additional work and labor, which is not repaid by the results. The result is that our agricultural economy has serious problems, the worst of which is the flight from the land. The migration means overwork for German farmers, especially farm women, resulting in dangers to their health as well as to a reduction in agricultural production that may endanger the nation. National Socialism considers it necessary to use all available means to deal with this problem. It is essential to lead the farming population in a clear, but sensitive manner. This is the job of the party. The Reich Food Estate’s task is to guide the entire German food production system with the same strong and broad leadership.
An essential support for the rural population is to secure the proper understanding for them on the part of the city and industrial population. They must understand the currently unavoidable shortages in certain areas, and accept them calmly, as befits a politically mature nation.
On the question of guaranteeing Germany’s good supply in the future, the speaker discussed the differences between England and Germany in the matter of territorial acquisition. While England has adopted a policy of world conquest without any agricultural need, but rather for reasons of economic greed that resulted in the destruction of its own farming population, Germany sees its long term security as requiring territory beyond its present borders for living space and agricultural production. The National Socialist state considers it essential to keep the German farmer economically strong and socially secure, for only such a strong agricultural population can guarantee the continuation of our blood and ensure our agricultural independence from the larger world in case of necessity.
Reich Organization Leader Dr. Ley:
Party comrade Dr. Ley referred to the continuing disorder in the rest of the world, which shows itself in alarming headlines every day and in useless conferences, comparing it to the absolute order and security of life in Germany and Italy, where decisions of great importance are being made. The reason for the contrast is that the Führer has given us clear aims, a clear direction, and self-confidence. That is impossible in the democracies, and explains their constant insecurity. The scope of this insecurity is demonstrated by England’s recent introduction of universal military service. Never before in a time of peace has England felt it necessary to take such an action, which shows its nervousness. In the United States, a radio show about the appearance of men from Mars is sufficient to cause panic-stricken flight from the cities. If one seeks the reason for the uncertainty, one sees that the fear of the spreading authoritarian idea is used by the Jews to mobilize their satellites, which include the entire black-red-gold Internationale. Germany knows that it can approach this battle with quiet assurance and confidence in ultimate victory.
The Reich Organization Leader went on to show the nature of the worldview struggle of our day and the contradictions between our ideas and those of others with numerous clear examples.
After discussing the Jewish world enemy, the Reich Organization Leader concluded his remarks with a discussion of the territorial question. The German people need more land. No amount of work, no sermons, no organization like “Kraft durch Freude,” no pride in our army, can eliminate our territorial inadequacy. As long as this situation remains, the danger of a revival of Marxist ideas exists. Every meeting must include an appeal for more territory. Germany’s colonies were such territories. They were senselessly stolen from us, and it is a matter of German honor to get them back. Germany does not want pressure or destroy other nations, but it needs more territory. When other nations claim that the world has already been carved up, the answer must be that England does not have rights to the entire world. The German people must hear this over and over again. Just as the idea gave us strength during the periods of struggle and construction, today it is essential to strengthen the idea in the entire people. Strengthening the idea means overcoming all human weaknesses. This educational work is the duty of the party.
At the conclusion of the course, Reichspropagandaleiter Dr. Goebbels gave a programmatic speech on:
The Reichspropagandaleiter began with the frequently expressed viewpoint that today, since the party has seized state power and the people are National Socialist, propaganda is no longer necessary. Such a view is not only false, it shows that its adherents have no understanding of the nature of propaganda. Propaganda has not only a right to exist, it has a need to exist. Its task is to keep the people persuaded, and to mold coming generations. This shows the difference between propaganda and people’s enlightenment. Propaganda is a revolutionary-political concept. People’s enlightenment limits itself to informing the people in a more factual way about existing necessities and questions.
National Socialism created propaganda in its present form as an instrument of politics. Dr. Goebbels went on to discuss the results of propaganda’s absence in Germany, particularly during the World War, as well as the decisive role propaganda had in enemy countries. The same is true of a nation’s domestic life. A movement seeking power can hold that power only when it uses the same means to preserve its power that it used to gain it. He therefore who doubts the need for National Socialist propaganda doubts the right of the National Socialist idea to exist.
A further reason for the necessity of propaganda, according to Party Comrade Dr. Goebbels is that it must be tailored to the understanding and receptivity of the people. Some maintain that it is increasingly necessary to increase the intellectual level of our propaganda, particularly speeches. On the contrary, our meetings are intended for the entire people and must therefore be put in a form that everyone can understand. It is not the goal of the speaker to speak to only a part of the audience. One only needs to think of the churches, whose preachers largely speak in a way understandable by all. The task of propaganda is not to complicate things, but to simplify them. It should not present many problems, but rather only a few that can be put in a clear way to the people. Dr. Goebbels used the example of our battle against the Young Plan. The movement then did not deal with every detail of the treaty, but rather focused on particular points and used them to show the people clearly its dangers. The people are not interested in details, but rather want to see the results in brief and clear form.
The speaker pointed out the differences between a speech and a lecture. The speaker has the duty of speaking clearly and plainly to the people, without raising problems, etc. A lecture is something else. Its audience knows that it will hear a discussion of intellectual issues and will have to think about them.
Simplification means further that propaganda must focus on the essential and leave aside the nonessentials.
We must continue to use both now and in the future those means of propaganda that proved their value during the struggle for power. We must naturally keep from falling into routine. Our propaganda must achieve its goals though fighting work, which means that tasks being repeated must be approached as if they were being done for the first time.
Speakers should not rely too heavily on technical methods. A microphone is not necessary in a small room. The fighting character of our meetings requires that we speak to the people extemporaneously. Only in that way can the contact between speaker and listener be created which will allow the speaker to speak from his heart to the hearts of the listeners.
The Reichspropagandaleiter then turned to the attitude of the rest of the world to the new Germany, and the resulting propaganda tasks. If the world is against Germany and shows no understanding for the nature and needs of the German people, propaganda must seize the world’s ear and combat boycotts and encirclements.
In conclusion, party comrade Dr. Goebbels discussed some internal propaganda matters.
So ended the first course for Gau and county propaganda leaders. The participating propagandists received a wealth of new material and encouragement, which they will transform into practical work once they are back home.
[Page copyright © 1998 by Randall L. Bytwerk. No unauthorized reproduction. My e-mail address is available on the FAQ page.]
Go to the German Propaganda Home Page.