German Propaganda Archive Calvin University

Background: The Nazi Party depended heavily on speakers to get its message across. Those speakers needed to be informed. The following is a translation of instructions to speakers in March 1942 on what to say about significant cuts in food rations for the population. The material was labeled “Very Confidential!,” although there was not all that much secret in it. A year later, there was similar advice to speakers.

The source: Redner-Schnellinformation, Lieferung 29, 16 March 1942.

Advice to Speakers

On the new rationing measures:

As of 6 April new rations for meat, fat, and bread go into effect. These include cuts in various areas. Since this will affect morale, increased propaganda is necessary. Speakers should follow the following guidelines.

1. The primary line of thinking should be taken from the article by State Secretary Backe of the Reich Ministry of Food, which will appear in the 19 March issue of the Völkischer Beobachter. In addition, an issue of the Sonderdienst der Reichspropagandaleitung will provide some important guidelines.

2. Speakers should stress the following points:

a) The military has increased need for food, above all bread, fat, and meat. This is necessary first, because the size of the military has increased, and second, because of the extraordinary demands of the Eastern Front, which can be met only by a corresponding increase in food. The hardest work demands the best nourishment.

b) A strong front requires that the home front be just as strong. There has also been a clear increase in heavy labor, those working long shifts, and those working at night. The men and women working in armaments factories and other facilities important for the military effort need increased food because of the extraordinary work they do for the victory of German weapons. Their number has increased significantly in recent months, which has strained existing supplies.

c) The prevailing labor shortage in the Reich has demanded the recruitment of foreign labor. Currently, about 2.5 million foreign workers are active with us. This means a clear increase in demand on the available food supplies.

d) The previous successful campaigns in all parts of Europe resulted in many millions of prisoners. These people should and must work for us, which also requires that they be fed. In this regard speakers should note, for example, that we urgently need to use captured Bolshevists for our labor needs. Many of these prisoners are particularly important to us as agricultural laborers, given the prevailing labor shortage there. Their work will benefit our future food needs.

e) The occupied territories have a large part of the advanced industries that support our military economy. It is of great importance for us to assists in feeding the people who work there. Therefore, we have supplied food to these areas, since it is necessary for our military strength.

f) Our heroic ally Finland particularly needs our help. Even during peace time, this country depended on foreign imports to a significant degree, since neither the soil nor the climate permit harvests sufficient to support Finland. In addition, the war it lost in 1939/1940 because of the cowardly Soviet attack did serious damage. Today, its whole people stands with us in a single strong community, fighting for its freedom and its future. Nearly all men between 16 and 60 are serving in the military, defending their land in exhausting combat to free their devastated home soil from the Bolshevists. Last year’s harvest was scanty and insufficient. In view of their heroism, we owe them as much help as possible. This is a matter of ancient German loyalty, which is ready to stand loyally alongside a military brother.

3. One must also remember that since the beginning of Germany’s fateful struggle, the weather has been against us. Not only were the winters severe, but summers have also been unfriendly. The chattering of old religious fanatics that this is “divine punishment” can be answered by noting that these conditions also affect our enemies. The weather does not only affect Germany, but rather our opponents just as much. Nonetheless, the weather resulted in only average harvests for the past two years. Given the increased demand and the shortage of agricultural labor, as well as the significance appropriate distribution has for the victory of German weapons, each people’s comrade must exhibit the strongest discipline.

4. No predictions about the future of the German food supply are to be made. The theme of “exploiting new territories in the East,” primarily the Ukraine, should also be avoided if at all possible. When discussions in the area make it necessary to deal with the question, it should be pointed out that:

a) The land was harmed by Bolshevist mismanagement, such that rapid and noticeable assistance from these areas cannot be expected,

b) The only possibility in the coming year is that the harvest, in for example the Ukraine, would go to the military, which could bring some relief to the homeland.

Therefore, we must be firmly determined and sufficiently disciplined to rely on that which we can produce ourselves. The unavoidable shortages that will result should be used by speakers to point out the necessity of a victorious conclusion to our fateful battle.

Our present shortage of land determines our situation. The primary goal of our struggle is finally to overcome Germany’s eternal poverty and misery. Each people has the right to existence. A people of such high racial and ethnic value as the Germans, a people whose creative strengths benefit the whole world, must above all fight so that it can live.

We can be secure in the future only if we overcome the current unjust distribution of the world’s goods. A few peoples are blessed with all the riches of this earth, which are in the hands of a small upper class, whereas other more capable, highly advanced peoples are crammed into insufficient territories.

5. Language guidelines on the theme:

It is absolutely forbidden to discuss the health consequences of the new rations, whether in a positive or negative sense. Rather, make it absolutely clear to all people’s comrades that we absolutely refuse to make reduced rations a matter of victory or loss. Even after the new rations take effect, food supplies will be better than they were during the last year of the World War. And a defeat would led us into entirely different problems, which would have to be borne without hope. Millions of German men, women, and children would die. Therefore, everything we now have to tolerate is insignificant.

II. No black marketeering

A few days after the propaganda campaign on the new rations for some foodstuffs begins, Reich Minister Dr. Goebbels will publish an article in the VB against black marketeering. Speakers should wait for this article, then use it in their meetings in connection with the situation. At the same time, appropriate examples should be given as good models. The next issue of the Sonderdienst der Reichspropagandaleitung will provide examples for speakers.

[Page copyright © 2007 by Randall Bytwerk. No unauthorized reproduction. My e-mail address is available on the FAQ page.]

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