Background: This is the earliest general guide to Nazi propaganda that I know of. According to an introductory note: “This small brochure is intended to briefly outline the work of the Propaganda Department, to explain propaganda, and provide several important guidelines for making propaganda.” At the time it was produced, Gregor Strasser and Heinrich Himmler were in charge of party propaganda. The brochure is also interesting in that it provides a full list of Nazi speakers of the day, though I have not included that listing. This was published somewhere between late November 1926 and February 1927. The Nazi propaganda organization developed rapidly after 1927. See, for example, a more detailed 1930 pamphlet by G. Stark titled Modern Political Propaganda,which takes some of its material directly from this brochure.
The source: Propaganda Abteilung, Propaganda (Munich: Reichs-Parteileitung der N.S.D.A.P., 1927).
To introduce propaganda, we begin with the most important passages from our Führer Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf. In Chapter 6 titled “War Propaganda,” he writes:
“Propaganda is a means and must be evaluated as such, from the standpoint of the goal.”
“It has always to speak only to the masses.”
“The task of propaganda lies not in the scientific training of the individual, but rather in drawing the attention of the masses to certain facts, events, necessities, etc....”
“It is wrong to want to give propaganda the multi-sidedness of scientific instruction.”
“...Effective propaganda must limit its points of a few and these points must be repeated until even the last member of the audience understands what is meant by them.”
“It must limit itself to a few themes and repeat them incessantly.”
“Each change must never affect the content of propaganda, but rather must always draw the same conclusions.”
The Führer wrote these words as a judgment about war propaganda, and they are even more true today than they were then. The only difference today for us National Socialists is that we are not propagandizing lies and untruths as England did during the War, but rather we are preaching freedom and prosperity, socialism and patriotism to our confused people.
Our struggle and our propaganda have one supreme principle: to take truth and only truth as the foundation of our propaganda.
Paragraph 7 of the NSDAP Party Statute states: “To enable the development of the organization, besides the board elected by the membership meeting, the following committees with particular tasks are established:
a) The Propaganda Committee, with a chairman and 8 members. Its goal is to deal with questions relating to propaganda.
The chairman will be appointed by the head of the organization.
The chairman determines the committee’s members in consultation with the party leadership.
The current members of the committee are:
Chair: Gregor Strasser, Member of the Reichstag, pharmacist, Landshut, Zweibrückenstr. 684
Member and Vice Chairman: Heinrich Himmler, degree in agriculture, Munich, Glückstr. 19/2 r.
The office of the committee is: NSDAP, Schellingstr. 50, Telephone 29 0 31.
All payments should be directed to the party’s account: NSDAP, Munich, 23 3 19.
Only personal correspondence should be sent to the home addresses of the chairman and vice chairman. Otherwise, mail should go to the main address.
Our Führer Adolf Hitler wrote in Part I of his book Mein Kampf:
“But the force that set the great historical avalanches of religious and political change in motion was from the beginning the magic force of the spoken word alone.”
“The course of a people’s history can be changed only by a storm of glowing passion, but only he can awaken passion who carries it within himself.”
“It alone gives the words to him whom it has chosen, the hammer blows that open the door to the hearts of a people.”
“Each movement with great goals must anxiously be on guard to ensure that it does not lose touch with the broad masses of the people.”
These words remind us never to forget that we are a financially weak party, and the speech for this reason alone is the cheapest and therefore the best propaganda.
1. The speaker is the public representative of the party and the proclaimer of a new worldview. He must therefore be knowledgeable and morally upright, having a good reputation as a soldier and also as a man. Each Gau leader must therefore know the speakers of his region and know if the speaker fulfills all the necessary qualifications.
2. According to Directive 5 of the Propaganda Department, the individual Gaue have reported the following speakers:
[The brochure lists a total of 209 speakers, divided by Gau, with their occupations and addresses. 59 of them are authorized to speak anywhere in the country, the rest are limited to their Gau. The topic specialties of 21 of these speakers are also given. It lists an additional speaker, a Russian, who is an expert on Freemasonry and Bolshevism. This list is a valuable guide to early party leaders, but will not likely interest most readers of this page, so I won’t include the names.]
d) Approval of New Speakers
The speakers listed above are the official speakers of the party. The speaker list was compiled on the basis of information supplied by the Gaue.
From now on, party comrades wishing to be recognized as official speakers of the party must submit the following papers to their Gau, which will pass them on to the party headquarters:
Attestation by the Gauleiter of their rhetorical ability
Certificate of good character
A precise biography with as much supporting material as possible
Only upon receipt of these documents, which should be passed on by the relevant Gau, will the Propaganda Department send written appointment as an “official speaker.” As of today, this approval can come from no other party office.
A. I. 3. The speaker is no necessary evil that the local group has to pay, but rather the propagandist of the idea. He sacrifices his time, strength, health and material possessions for the party. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to provide an honorarium and to cover his expenses. Recognition of his abilities and demonstrated skill encourages the speaker.
4. On the other hand, it is a matter of honor for the speaker to hold to his schedule as much as is humanly possible. Meetings are to be conducted regardless of the attendance. This is a matter of the prestige of the party.
The speaker should always remember that although speaking at a discussion evening may seem to bring less prestige, it often is a greater success for the movement than a public meeting.
A. II. 1. The public political meeting is the place where an authoritative speaker presents the goals of the movement and the position of our worldview on domestic and international events and relates it to the fundamental spiritual thinking of every group of our people. The public meeting is therefore a matter of the prestige and growing strength of the movement. The manner of its preparation is the test of the local group. The proper term for the invitation is: “public people’s meeting” (öffentliche Volksversammlung). The term “mass meeting” should be used only when one really expects a mass turnout.
2. The theme of the public meeting should always be chosen to draw people to the meeting, particularly the group one is appealing to. We distinguish between worldview and current events themes. An example of presenting worldview political themes is the brochure with poster texts published by Dr. Goebbels, which can be ordered from the business office of the Nationalsozialistische Briefe, Elberfeld, Oststr. 69.
The other type of meeting theme uses sensational events of the day, Jewish or Marxist scandals, and foreign events, which can be stated in few words usually 3 or 4 words in large type. These will arouse the curiosity of the masses, or their wrath about international events. They will attend hoping to hear something sensational or to hear something to the advantage of their group or class.
One may not chose only worldview political themes or current events themes, else one will lose contact with the masses, or attract only the mere masses, not valuable fighters. The goal is to have the public eagerly awaiting each meeting, as was true for a period in Munich during the years 1922-1923.
3. Announcing a Meeting:
a) Use clever, concise, large, and striking posters. In most areas they should regularly use the same colors. In so far as the police allow, the preferred color is the familiar red of the National Socialist posters in Munich. Despite the high cost, effective public posters are by the best and most effective method of announcing a meeting, and therefore the cheapest as well. For examples of poster texts see the appendix to Book I of Mein Kampf.
In provinces and areas where posters with large texts are banned, it will be helpful to secure the picture posters put out by the Propaganda Department, on which locally relevant texts can be pasted. All posters should include propaganda for the Völkischer Beobachter [the party daily newspaper] (insofar as this is allowed by the police).
In smaller areas, posters that can be filled out are available from the Propaganda Department.
Meeting promotion is assisted by:
b) the leaflet, which announces the meeting and provides short, vivid and striking text that will attract the desired opponents to the meeting.
Such leaflets can also be pasted up around the area. It is also good to print meeting notices on the backs of official party leaflets (which, with the exception of Nrs. 2 and 9, always leave room on the back side for a meeting notice applied with a rubber stamp in red ink).
The Propaganda Department also has illustrated leaflets available with brief texts and a call to join the party. These can be distributed or pasted up, but can also be used as an invitation to a meeting, since they have space on the back for the place, time and speaker.
c) Invitations by advertisements in the bourgeois press are usually very expensive and directly support our opponents. They should only be used where it is a matter of local custom, the omission of which could harm the meeting. In that case, a condition must be the inclusion of a report provided by the local group leadership in the issue containing the advertisement.
d) The announcement of the meeting as is the case with all other functions of the local group should be carried in the central organ of the movement, the Völkischer Beobachter as well as in the recognized regional party papers, as this enables a complete picture of the movement’s work, which is also good for the public.
All such advertisements and announcements should be sent to the Propaganda Department, not directly to the Völkischer Beobachter.
e) A very effective and cheap form of advertising is to carry posters through the streets of the city on the day of a meeting. This requires police approval. The local group leader determines whether this is advisable under the given conditions. This is influenced by the political stance of the population and the strength of the opponents, but not by “bourgeois ideas of beauty.”
f) For financial and propaganda reasons, selling tickets in advance is strongly recommended. This can be done by individual party members or in several shops, in which case the posters must announce this.
4. The following principles should be followed when holding meetings.
a) Before the meeting, the speaker should be informed of the local political situation.
b) The meeting chair, with a witness, should assume control from the host.
c) Meeting protection should be assured either by a sufficient number of local or neighboring S.A. men, or by request to the police. The latter is particularly important in the case of meetings that may turn violent, for the riot damage act requires it. The state’s responsibilities begin only when damages exceed 400 marks.
d) It has proven advantageous in certain meetings and in certain places to have a part of the S.A. in civilian dress scattered throughout the room in order to deal with expected troublemakers.
e) The chairman conducts the meeting. His introduction and conclusion should be at most 3-5 minutes.
f) Attendance by party members is both expected and tactically necessary, given the opponents. No party member should want to demonstrate, either by not appearing at all or by being inattentive, that he already knows everything that the speaker has to say.
g) Only one speaker from each party is permitted during the discussion period. Announce at the start that a speaker cannot give his speaking time to someone else. It is better in advance to give a speaker from another party a longer speaking time, if that is required by the local situation.
h) At the start of each discussion speech at difficult meetings, it is good to announce the time to the audience to keep the discussion speaker and his supporters from claiming that he has only spoken for 5 or 10 minutes.
i) Make propaganda during the meeting for the central organ of the movement, the Völkischer Beobachter, either through brief words from the chairman or before the meeting and during the breaks with brochures.
k) Each meeting is to be closed by the chairman with a “Heil” to National Socialism and our Führer Adolf Hitler.
l) Singing a song at the conclusion of a meeting makes sense only if this can be done well. The meeting chairman should give directions. It is to be sung standing up, not by singing one stanza as people are leaving. Thin and scattered voices by several party members make a bad impression, particularly when the opponent begins to sing his battle song.
5. Reports. A report for each meeting and each larger discussion evening is required. All reports should contain the unvarnished truth, and should be sent to the Propaganda Department, which will send abbreviated and corrected copy to the Völkischer Beobachter. A meeting report should in general include no more than six lines, including the theme, attendance, speaker, success and impact of the meeting. Only when the speaker has treated an important theme in a fresh way is it necessary to summarize briefly his speech.
The Propaganda Department has to have the right to condense reports, lest the Völkischer Beobachter consist only of meeting reports that largely say the same thing. On the other hand, the goal of the meeting report section of the Völkischer Beobachter is to report the work of the movement throughout Germany, as well as the efforts of the local group and the efforts of the speaker. We suggest therefore that speakers make a monthly or quarterly report along these lines: “Party comrade ... spoke in these meetings, which were well, poorly, etc., attended. The Propaganda Department will include this information in the Völkischer Beobachter, too, since good work deserves to be recognized.
A.III.1. In public people’s meeting, the movement speaks authoritatively to the public. The discussion evening, on the other hand, serves to deepen the understanding of our idea and educate party members. It also allows for an exchange of views with racial comrades who are friendly toward the movement, or at least honestly uncertain. Through argument and counter-argument, they may be turned into supporters. Without doubt, the movement has deepened its cohesion through discussion evenings and won some of its best fighters. One discussion evening should be held every month. If no public meeting is held in a month, it should be replaced by a second (or even if possible a third) discussion evening.
A discussion evening is not a membership meeting, open only to a certain audience, but rather a public gathering to which party members may bring guests or truth-seeking racial comrades.
Securing a speaker is not as great a problem as in a public people’s meeting, Party members not rhetorically suited for a larger public meeting can do very well in a discussion evening as long as they possess a firm grasp of the aims of the movement.
They will become increasingly better speakers, and the give-and-take with party members will help them become able to serve as discussion speakers at the meetings of other parties. Working out plans for discussion evenings in individual local groups, selecting appropriate and available speakers and assigning suitable party members with particular themes will always be one of the most important and fruitful tasks of the Gau leader, his subordinate, or the district leader.
2. The political, civic, and cultural knowledge, as well as everything that has to do with the National Socialist worldview, covers an enormous amount of ground. We list here several resources for discussion evenings (the items in quotation marks are foundational for the area).a) The movement as Worldview: Development, Growth, Structure, and Goals:
o) Current Events
Fetz, World Annihilation through Jehovah’s Witnesses
Adolf Dresler, The League of Nations and World Finance
All books listed here can be purchased from the Franz Eher Book Shop, Munich, Thierschsstr. 15, Postal Bank Account Munich, 11346,
It is also necessary for each local group leader to collect articles in our press and keep them in special folders so that he will have reliable, authoritative material to deal with all questions handled in discussion evenings and before the public.
We particularly recommend the series announced by Party Comrade Gottfried Feder in the Völkischer Beobachter, Nr. 266 of 17 November 1926. As they appear, they will fill many gaps that exist today for discussion evenings,
And Adolf Hitler’s office recommended the Nationalsozialistische Briefe of 11 December 1925, which provides current and principial treatment of issues. It is an important help in political work. It can be ordered from Elberfeld, Oststraße 69. It costs 1.50 marks quarterly.
Obviously, one should follow Adolf Hitler’s order of 30 July 1926 and subscribe to the monthly Weltkampf, published by Alfred Rosenberg. The Weltkampf costs 2.40 marks a quarter and can best be ordered through the Verlag Franz Eher, Munich.
The Propaganda Department will periodically announce other recommended publications that can be used for education.
The Propaganda Department is preparing a collection of material for discussions at the meetings of our opponents. As soon as it is financially feasible, a periodical will be published to instruct lower level leaders about the political situation, the activities of our opponents, and other such things.
The educational activity presumes a local group library, the value of which cannot be stressed too highly. An important condition for the spread of our worldview to broader circles is the support of party comrades by purchasing and disseminating our publications.
A. IV. Visiting Other Meetings
The movement’s development always follows this course:
In the last stage, it becomes necessary for us to attend the opponent’s meetings and speak during the discussion period. The tactical principle is: “Never lose touch with the opponent.” Here are some guidelines to follow:
“He who complains about the national alienation of large parts of our people does not understand the situation as long as he fails to realize that it is no surprise in a time when the whole information system is nine-tenths controlled by Jews or their allies. Thousands and thousands of so-called “German” newspapers consciously and willingly contribute to the destruction of our national body. Only a few exert weak resistance, and hardly a one goes over to the attack.
The creation of a National Socialist press is our movement’s most difficult task. It will determine in the future either our success of the final collapse of the German nation. Munich, 28 December 1925.”
These words of the Führer show us the decisive significance that the printed word of the press has today for a political idea and worldview. Party comrades should always remember that our newspapers get no Jewish money, no Jewish advertising, and because of the fear and cowardliness of German businessmen, they also get few German advertisements. We are able to proclaim the truth only because our newspapers cannot be bought. But they will only be wasting their time if their work is not sacrificially supported by the promotional work of party comrades, particularly through subscriptions. Each major political party has its major newspaper. What Vorwarts is for the Socialists and Germania is for the center Party, the Völkischer Beobachter is for the NSDAP, and in even greater measure. Its survival and growth is a matter of the prestige of the party.
The existing weekly newspapers, some of which have a particular theme and others of which are Gau newspapers, are only supplements to the leading daily newspaper. They are valuable and necessary for the movement. We append a list of the official NSDAP press. (The Kurier for Lower Bavaria is not included, since as the result of a change in ownership it is no longer an official party paper.)
Organized advertising for the Völkischer Beobachter and the rest of the party press is a prime task of the S.S. and the S.A. Each S.S. And S.A. member as well as every other diligent party comrade, should always be promoting the Völkischer Beobachter or some other National Socialist newspaper, and the greatest honor for successful promotion of the Völkischer Beobachter is to receive a picture of the Führer with his autograph.
I. To have effective leaflet propaganda for the whole Reich that reaches the masses it is necessary for it to be unified. This is according to the will of the Führer and his colleagues who are in closest contact with him. Were each Gau and local group to produce its own leaflets, propaganda would be dissipated and the unified strength of the movement, which above all should be expressed in its propaganda, would suffer. For this reason, and because it is cheaper to print leaflets in large numbers, local groups may distribute only the official leaflets released by the Propaganda Department of the Reichsparteileitung.
II. 1. The first series of 10 leaflets is being sent with this brochure. It can be ordered at any time from the Propaganda Department for 30 pfennig. Future leaflets will be announced by the Propaganda Department in the Völkischer Beobachter and will be released in series of 10.
The limitation to ten leaflets, covering the battle against capitalism, agricultural questions, pay issues, railroad issues, the Zionist Protocols, the party program and a speech by the Führer, is unfortunately necessary, since as is the case of most things in the world, it is a question of money.
2. Leaflets needed in a particular area should be sent in draft form to the Propaganda Department, and may be printed with its permission. Just as is the cause with the official party leaflets, they should contain only the absolute truth.
3. The Propaganda Department requests good ideas for leaflets.
4. Leaflets from the German Renewal Community of the Hammerverlag or those from other political organizations may no longer be used.
III. Distributing Leaflets
1. Leaflets cost money, which we do not have a lot of. Leaflets therefore may not be thrown away or carelessly distributed, but rather they are to be distributed where they will do some good. In the same way, old newspapers should not be thrown away, but rather reused as propaganda.
2. The best methods of distribution, depending on conditions, include:
a) Distributing leaflets on streets and public squares to passersby;
b) Delivering them to every house or apartment, and putting them in mailboxes;
c) Distributing them at closing time at large factories or buildings;
d) Distributing them from vehicles during propaganda caravans or on streetcars;
e) Regularly sending a particular series of leaflets, brochures and newspapers to a particular group of people we are working on. Old newspapers and the Illustrierter Beobachter are suitable here as well. It is worth the 3 pfennig in postage: one is more likely to read what he gets in the mail than what he is handed. That which comes in the mail is likely to be read, if only to see who is sending it. The next step is to invite the person to a discussion evening.
f) It is also good to leave leaflets, brochures and newspapers in railway cars, streetcars, restaurants and businesses where one shops, as well as in the offices of doctors and dentists and in public baths.
All party comrades whose job allows them the opportunity to meet many people every day should display newspapers, the Illustrierter Beobachter, leaflets and brochures in their shops and waiting rooms, and should hang pictures of Hitler or the like.
The local group leader should constantly remind all party comrades to ask for the Völkischer Beobachter, the Illustrierter Beobachter, and other party papers in all the restaurants, train stations and newspaper sellers they visit.
g) Posting leaflets or putting them in display cases is another method of leaflet propaganda.
h) Local groups and propaganda wardens are encouraged to set up a bulletin board or display case (or several in larger cities), in which each day the Völkischer Beobachter can be posted, as well as new leaflets and brochures or other National Socialist newspapers, postcards, the Illustrierter Beobachter, photographs of marches of the Storm Troopers, etc., which will have propaganda value.
I. Slides and Film: To ignore the appeal of colorful pictures, sensations and the movies to people would be to neglect a very important way of propagandizing our movement.
We therefore use slide shows and films in our propaganda. We call attention to three possibilities:
II. We also make mention of picture posters which promote our views (without inviting viewers to a meeting), or are pasted up during election periods where they cannot be torn down and where they will catch the eye of passersby, making them aware of our ideas and worldview. The Propaganda Department will issue such posters, and announce them in the Völkischer Beobachter.
III. Propaganda Marches by uniformed S.A. And S.S. units are a very effective method of propaganda when the number of participants, their organization and appearance are in order. If these conditions are not met, a propaganda march has the opposite effect. Propaganda marches must always be organized and ordered by the Gau leader, or at least be approved by him. Bands and music increase the effectiveness of such marches.
1. Propaganda includes the appropriate celebration of National Socialist holidays, which have already become a tradition in the movement. These include:
- a) the memorial for 9 November,
- b) Christmas, with presents for unemployed party members and poor children,
- c) The summer solstice on 22 June.
These are to be conducted in a simple and dignified manner, without incurring major costs.
2. In holding so-called German evenings and other such social gatherings, the local group should always remember that we are neither reactionaries nor bourgeois, and that these events can easily turn into slimy nationalism or songfests.
If it is necessary to hold such a German evening, usually for financial reasons, it should be conducted in a manner befitting the nature and dignity of the movement.
3. A word of warning about the numerous German Rallies held in the summer and fall months. The optimism of some diligent local groups results in large deficits for the local group, and even with the greatest economy on the part of the participating party comrades, there can be a series of unanticipated expenses that affect the family budget and cause problems. And not meeting financial obligations naturally has consequences for the party.
National Socialism’s major annual public mass meeting is the Party Rally. Attending it must be the sacrificial longing of each individual party comrade. The necessary funds should be saved by economy and by giving up on alcohol and tobacco over the course of the year.
The Führer’s will is, therefore, that we not hold German Rallies. In any event, permission for such events should be secured in advance from the Propaganda Department of the Reichsparteileitung and in advance of any kind of preparation. The request should include a justification of the need and a precise schedule, along with careful estimates of the cost. The Propaganda Department will then make a decision after discussing the matter with the party leadership.
If the party leadership determines that the plan is unnecessary, it will ensure that speakers and prominent party comrades will not participate.
4. Point 3 does not refer to simple Gau meetings of the S.A., or a Gau meeting of party comrades from all local groups in a Gau on the occasion of Gau or county rallies. This includes only gatherings for which party members outside the relevant Gau or local group are not invited, and for which the resulting costs are minor.
I. Minor expenses for propaganda should never come from the local group’s treasure. These include distributing leaflets in small numbers, buying stickers and postage stamps and postage for sending newspapers and leaflets. A propaganda warden who cannot secure the necessary donations for these purposes is unsuited for the larger tasks of propaganda.
II. The costs for larger propaganda actions covering whole neighborhoods or for working on entire classes and groups (e.g., railway workers, civil servants, the unemployed) can be paid for in part by the local group, but where possible they should be covered largely or entirely by the receipts from selling propaganda items, books, brochures, the Völkischer Beobachter and Illustrierter Beobachter. Ideally, propaganda pays for itself. Of course, any profits from propaganda should be used to make more propaganda, not used for other purposes.
Statistics. To keep up-to-date, the Propaganda Department always needs information on the latest mass meetings and activities of our opponents. It is the central office to which information flows from towns and Gaue throughout Germany, enabling on overall view of the opponent’s activities. This is useful for overall party planning, but also for our own propaganda purposes and to evaluate our attacks on the enemy.
I. Here are some major one-time announcements:
All local groups are to report by 15 April 1927 at the latest to their Gau, and all Gaue and independent local groups are to report at the latest to the Propaganda Department by 30 April 1927 the following information:
II. Standard Reports due at regular intervals to the Propaganda Department are included in the guidelines for the activity reports of the Gaue and local groups of the NSDAP, due on the 15th of each month.
We stress that local groups subordinate to a Gau should submit their reports to the relevant Gau office, whereas independent local groups submit their reports directly to the Propaganda Department of the Reichsleitung. Missing the deadlines will result in a sharp reproof, and in repeated instances by informing the Führer.
III. Regular reports to be submitted as needed as rapidly as possible include:
All newspaper articles and clippings sent to the Propaganda Department should include the issue number, date and newspaper name, without accompanying explanation. The Propaganda Department will not acknowledge the receipt of such items.
The Propaganda Department:
This brochure is nothing more than advice and counsel for the propaganda activities of the NSDAP. The best advice is of no value if propaganda is not conducted by active and fanatic fighters with an unbreakable desire for battle.
We may never forget that propaganda is only an activity that wins ground and people for the organization of fighters, and wins supporters from the masses. It can only achieve its goals when it stays in constant touch with the people.
Every method that leads to this end is correct.
Propaganda is not conducted according to bourgeois standards. Our opponents, the Jews, capitalism, and Marxism, should always be kept on edge and be unsettled by our propaganda.
Our activity should never cease; remember that we are fighting
for freedom and prosperity
and that our goal is
a National Socialist state!
Long live National Socialism!
Long live Adolf Hitler!
[A price list follows.]
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