German Propaganda Archive Calvin College


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 late January 1943. Goebbels and the propaganda leadership knew that the battle of Stalingrad was lost (the surviving German forces surrendered on 2 February 1943), a disaster for which the German population was not prepared. For the first time it was clear that Germany could lose the war. This directive was part of a series of measures to intensify the war effort, culminating in Goebbels’s “total war speech” of 18 February 1943.

The source: Redner-Schnellinformation, Lieferung 50, 30 January 1943.

Speaker Express Information


Commentary on the Law on Compulsory War Service

Total Mobilization of the Homeland!


The following propaganda directives are announced for the Law on Compulsory War Service:

The war that our enemies forced on us is becoming increasingly total. For our people it is a mater of life or death.

The demand of the hour, therefore, is that every last people’s comrade works together for the war effort. Now that heavy burdens are being placed on the shoulder of our people, all must do their share.

The greater the burdens of the war become, the more we must share them. The only goal now is to use all our strength to win final victory. Until now, we have lived a life in the homeland that in no way suggests that we have been waging bitter war for three-and-a-half years, with the exception of those areas suffering under enemy air attacks. In the East we are fighting a system that has intensified and perfected the totalization of war with barbaric cruelty. We will be able to survive the assault of Bolshevism only when we use our own potential to the fullest possible degree. The more radically and totally we wage war, the sooner we will reach its victorious end.

It is necessary to observe these psychological principles:

1. It is essential that we do not begin with sharp and scolding language. Instead, we should present the hardness of the situation and resulting necessity to mobilize all forces in a way that appeals to the sense of duty of each people’s comrade.

Always repeat that the leadership knows that these are difficult measures, and that it is for many women and also their husbands a heavy burden when they must come home from work and still care for their household.

At the same time, mention that millions of women have already volunteered for war duty, often working under unfavorable conditions, doing their duty without complaint — not to mention our soldiers at the front.

2. The front, above all those fighting on the front lines, have a huge amount of sacrifice and privation to bear, while much less is demanded of the homeland. It is, therefore, only a visible expression of national solidarity when the whole people, each individual people’s comrade — without exception  — is called and required to do his part by actively participating and accepting the burdens of the war according to his strengths.

3. The law expressly states that each can look for activity that is suitable. Those obligated to serve must only put themselves at the disposal of the Labor Office. Each can note his special requests as to the type of work he will do. Assignments will be done in a rational way so that each is used according to his abilities. This fact should be particularly emphasized to avoid any misunderstandings from the beginning.

4. We must avoid suggesting that we oppose the formerly confortable lives of that part of the people that has not been as involved in the war effort.

The measures are soley the result of the extraordinary demands by the war effort on all our lives. It is obvious to the nation that if the future of our people demands our full strength, each must do his share. It would be unthinkable if a people’s comrade did not understand this or thought he could have a good conscience over against the front were he to attempt to escape such a basic duty of thanks owed to the front.

The law on compulsory war service and the measures to mobilize further strengths in the war effort will find great support from our people if they are presented properly. These people’s comrades will do their duty loyally and conscientiously. We will not need compulsion. If, however, there are evil-minded element that ignore these arguments, the leadership at the proper time will not hesitate to resort to ruthless measures to force them to do their duty.


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