Background: The Nazis developed an elaborate system of propagandists at every level. The Reich Ring for National Socialist Propaganda and People’s Enlightenment and had offices at the national, regional, county, and local levels. Its job was to organize the work of just about anyone involved in propaganda, down to and including gardening societies. Lower offices received material from the head office in Berlin, directed in 1943 by Walter Tießler. I here translate the instructions for holding a local meeting of Reich Ring members in July 1943. The material is dated 4 June 1943. This was distributed by newsletters to propagandists at the local level.
The source: “Rundschreiben Nr. 86/43: Themen für die Ortsring-Arbeitsbesprechung für Monat Juli 1943,” Bundesarchiv Berlin, NS 18/915.
1. It seems necessary to remember more than before in work at the local level that, in the lives of individuals and peoples, the greatest mistake is to see events and measures only from the standpoint of the moment. It is always necessary to consider both past and future, otherwise one comes to the wrong conclusions and false policies.
The local ring business meetings for the month of July should first of all make every man conscious of this historical outlook.
2. After a terror attack, citizens who have lost everything at first see the future as hopeless and bleak.
After only a few weeks, however, their outlook changes, since life gives them new tasks.
They are now in the position to see a future in which the people’s community will help them to replace what they have lost, in so far as that is possible. And they can look back to what has happened with greater distance, recognizing the terrible fate that would have befallen them if the plans Jewry had in 1933 to destroy Germany through civil war and Bolshevism had been realized.
And they will see that is essential for us to defend ourselves against the Jews’ destructive will, whether we want to or not, if we are to have a better future.
Our task must be to prepare people in this sense, even before they have suffered misfortune.
3. We must also face yet another problem, which will greatly weaken the damage done by the air war, namely to prevent from the beginning any misunderstanding between those who have been bombed out of their homes and those who are providing them with shelter.
a). Adjusting to new styles of life is important. One the one hand, it is necessary that those who have been bombed out adjust to their new environment, and follow the local customs. On the other hand, those giving shelter must understand that this does not happen overnight and that it is a kind of consolation for those who have been bombed out when they can maintain at least a part of their earlier lifestyle.
No one can operate only from his own standpoint, but rather must attempt to understand the other as far as is possible.
b). One should remember than in the Danube and Alpine regions, as well as in the newly incorporated regions to the east and west, guests from the so-called “old Reich” are seen as representatives of the National Socialist attitude, since they have been living in a National Socialist state since 1933 and therefore should be model National Socialists.
c). Those providing shelter must realize that people bombed out of their homes do not initially have the decisiveness of a normal person, but rather need some form of understanding and help from others at first, indeed they are dependent on it. On the other hand, many who provide shelter are so overworked that they cannot take on anything more, but rather hope that those they are assisting will be able to aid and assist them.
Everyone must consider these matters.
Those providing shelter must realize that those who have been bombed out have a drive to do something to distract them from their situation, but very often do not know just what they can do.
It is therefore necessary that those providing shelter help them to find something in a patient way. Those bombed out will be happy that they no longer feel superfluous, but useful.
4. In the summer months, everyone who wants to has the possibility of helping out with agricultural labor. We regularly talk about agricultural work during our local group business meetings for the following reasons:
It is certainly true that the work done is important at the moment to help the German farmer see that his hard work is appreciated and to encourage him to further efforts. But here, too, we must see things not only from the immediate standpoint, but should also consider the effects of a good harvest, which we need for the coming days.
5. Private travel must also be seen from the larger standpoint. As pleasant as a trip is for an individual, he should look at things not only from the standpoint of the moment, but also in the long term. The absolutely necessary travel of those bombed out, the Mother and Child program, the sending of children to the countryside, as well as the relocation of factories, hospitals, schools, and old age homes heavily burdens the available means of transportation.
And even during the summer, we must think of the coming winter and the food that has to be transported.
If the individual considers not the moment, but the long term, he will avoid any unnecessary travel in the summer months.
6. When viewing the military situation, it is particularly important not to judge things by how they stand at the moment, but rather here, too, consider both the past and the future.
The future can only be understood by remembering the past. We may not allow ourselves to be influenced by the successes or setbacks of the moment, but rather we must consider the overall development of the war.
Propagandists must obviously always remember the Polish campaign, Norway, the campaign in France, and our victories in the Balkans. We remember as well that the U-boat campaign is always changing. In each year, there are some months of particularly great successes, whereas in others the rate of sinking enemy ships is less than usual.
In considering the campaign in the east, we must recognize the statesmanlike and foresighted ways in which the Führer, particularly after 1933, warned not only Germany, but also the whole world, of Bolshevism’s enormous armaments buildup.
We saw the Führer’s military brilliance in the campaigns after 1939, but we see his greatness in the Eastern campaign. If he had not prevented a Bolshevist attack with a surprise blow in the summer of 1941, he would not have had the ground necessary to give him freedom of movement on enemy territory during the winter campaigns.
7. In considering our successes, we may never forget the development of the NSDAP up to the takeover of power, since that is also clear proof of how false it would have been if we had let ourselves be influenced by the moment during those years. How often the NSDAP’s enemies declared it dead. Despite the crises and setbacks, our unshakable will for victory kept us fighting until 30 January 1933, when we were victorious in that part of our struggle.
Our successes in constructive work after 1933 also provided constant proof that the Führer was able to solve problems for the German people that were thought insoluble not only by our enemies, but also by a large part of the German people.
8. After considering these topics, it is appropriate to present the Guidelines for Party Comrades during War, which outline the basic attitude of every German.
The local ring business meeting for July must be to persuade the members of the clubs, organizations and associations that they should evaluate nothing from the perspective of the moment. Whether we fight or wait, have successes or setbacks, nothing can shake our confidence in victory.
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