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 issued in March 1943. This was a month after Goebbels’s total war speech, and provides important guidelines for speakers to help them adjust to the changed propaganda situation. In the past German propaganda presented the war as certain to be won. Now the line was that German would still win — but only if everyone did everything possible for the war effort.
The source: Redner-Schnellinformation,
Lieferung 53, 23 March 1943.
Evening Discussion Meeting for Party Members!
Speeches and discussions during evening discussion meetings of the NSDAP must cover as many daily issues as possible, providing party comrades with guidelines that they in turn can use in discussions and debates with the public.
During the Kampfzeit,each party comrade knew that he actively promoted the opinions and will of the Führer and the movement in public discussions. Today that must be so more than ever. There are countless rumors and idle chatter all around us that do not agree with our views and attitudes about current conditions. One hears in such discussions examples of cowardice and self-interest that are a disgrace to our fighting soldiers at the front. Often such discussions are the result of problems that cannot always be avoided in wartime, or that can easily be resolved with good will and the necessary action of the relevant offices.
The evening discussion meetings of the party must enable our party membership to deal with such themes. They must be trained to understand the reasons behind certain measures, regulations, and decisions, enabling them to explain the governmental, military-economic, and spiritual conditions of our era. They must also be the conscience of all those who sin against the demands of the war effort. The result will soon be that all our people’s comrades, influenced by the attitude and unshakable will of our party comrades to fight and win victory, will display a united picture of our strength, our courage, and our indestructible loyalty to the Führer that will rob our enemies of all hope of a collapse of domestic German morale. That, too, is a way to speed the final decision in our fateful battle.
The following ideas should guide all party officials, propagandists, and speakers in how to handle the themes they will discuss in the evening meetings. The themes will be handled in this order, which will be organized in the same way in future material on discussion evenings:
- The general situation.
- Questions regarding German labor during the war.
- Food supplies and war-related restrictions.
- General questions regarding daily life.
A. The general situation
1. The Eastern Front
The Wehrmacht reports of the past two weeks have shown that the situation in the East is in general firm. The various shortenings of the front have strengthened our positions so that on the one hand we can carry out necessary offensive actions and on the other hand guarantees that no enemy attack, however strong, can seriously endanger our front.
However, it must be clearly recognized that Bolshevism remains a serious and constant danger for our people and for all of Europe as long as it is not finally defeated. The new and encouraging conditions at the front may not mislead people into the opinion that the war effort is no longer as pressing. Only the full efforts of all German people’s comrades for total war will guarantee that in the future we are finally free of the crises that we experienced during the last winter months.
For this reason, it is absolutely necessary to warn continually against Bolshevism and appeal to the readiness of our men and women in the homeland to work and achieve.
The events of recent months have resulted in a flood of rumors that must be strongly combatted in discussion evenings. In general rumors are the result of enemy agitation, of which enemy news services are the most common source. Listening to enemy radio, therefore, is to be condemned as strongly as possible. To provide party members with the means to educate our people, it should be stressed that enemy news services cannot provide the truth. They want to use spiritual means to undermine our domestic strength. He who listens to enemy radio commits a crime against our people, since he makes himself weak, invites doubt and uncertainty, decreases his ability to work, and helps the enemy to reach his goal.
Here are examples of recent filthy lies, slanders, senseless doubts and conscious undermining of German war morale:
a) Bolshevists, Jews, and their lackeys are currently telling German workers that it makes no difference to them whether National Socialism or Bolshevism rules Germany. They will have to work in either case. The goal of such stupid chatter is clear. They want to undermine the willingness to work especially hard. The previous results of Bolshevism in the USSR provide enough proof that under its rule all workers are enslaved in the most awful and filthy way and suffer terribly. The “freedom of the proletariat” is nothing but agitation. The result of Bolshevist victory is total Jewish rule and the ruthless exploitation of labor for the benefit of this greedy Jewish ruling class. The Führer himself spoke of these facts in his Reichstag speech at the conclusion of the 1941/42 winter campaign:
“We know the theoretical principle and the terrible reality of this world plague. The dictatorship of the proletariat means the dictatorship of Jewry.”
b) In recent weeks we have seen many attempts to rob the German people of their belief in victory. Rumors are buzzing around that events in the east are the result of Adolf Hitler’s deficiencies as a military leader. There is talk of “mistakes in removing generals” and the like. It is obvious that each party member will passionately reject such chatter, the purpose of which is clear, as is its evil intent.
The Führer proved often enough that he does not make bad decisions in his 14-year battle to save our German people. We oppose this filthy chatter by loudly and forcefully repeating our old tested truth: the Führer is always right!
c) In some areas people have discussed whether in the case of a Bolshevist victory it would cross the Rhine. People expressed the quiet hope that the English and Americans would be in charge west of the Rhine.
Such thinking is enemy propaganda. Even the simple fact that those states would never be in a position to stop, much less overcome Bolshevism, since their mercenary armies were defeated by our armies, must make clear the stupidity of such chatter. Anyone who after the political developments of recent years still believes that Bolshevism can be stopped by paper treaties has lost all right to be taken seriously by any politically mature people’s comrade.
Along the same lines there is scattered stupid talk about the possibility of a compromise that could lead to peace. There are no halfway solutions to this great and final battle. Either Europe will find a new, free, and happy future through our victory or it will collapse. All party comrades must present this truth to those elements who want to follow the example of earlier bourgeois party politicians who worked for compromises with concessions from both sides.
A typical example is the Führer’s decision on 13 August 1932 regarding the chancellorship of the Reich. Adolf Hitler knew then that the movement could realize its ideals only through total victory and total rule. He declined the half-way solution of the vice chancellorship. Only later did our people realize that this was the only correct decision. At first thousands believed that the Führer had given up any future. It is the same in this war. Either complete victory will assure Europe’s future or our continent will totally collapse.
d) Many accounts report that POWs and foreign workers recently have behaved in insolent and arrogant ways. This, too, is part of enemy agitation intended to destroy our people’s confidence in German victory. There is stupid talk that Bolshevist POWs or workers from the East are handing out certificates entitling those who help them now to be spared atrocities and long suffering under Bolshevist terror by quick execution when Soviet troops enter Germany. That is an obvious lie. Where such things occur, our party comrades must make clear to those involved that their relations with workers from the East or with POWs reveal a total lack of dignity.
He who follows the regulations by treating foreign labor strictly but correctly and keeps an appropriate distance will not find himself in the position of being offered “protection certificates” by such foreigners.
e) A particularly evil rumor has surfaced in some areas, claiming that “orphaned children in bombed areas are being sold to foster parents.” The intellectual level of such chatterers is made clear by the fact that they believe such nonsense. All party comrades have the duty to oppose energetically such total nonsense, which contains a certain amount of malevolence. Our movement and National Socialism have always proven that they are unsurpassed in their social efforts, especially after the takeover of power. Each party comrade must say that such a practice could never happen in Adolf Hitler’s state. When in fact an orphaned war child finds a new home through the NSV’s program of sending children to the countryside or the efforts of the Reich Youth Leadership, this happens only after strict and orderly examination by the Reich Adoption Office. It is never a matter of money.
f) In the heavily bombed areas in the west and northwest of the Reich, an attitude has developed over time that expresses itself by disparaging, critical and sometimes malevolent comments about Berlin. After each air attack on Berlin, there is undisguised satisfaction, while news accounts of an air attack on the Reich capital are criticized because because one sees the emphasis on such events in the press and radio as boasting, and as downplaying their own area.
Such conduct is psychologically understandable, since people who have endured the misery and terror of such nights of bombing are filled with sorrow and bitterness and are hardly in a position to calm and politically farsighted judgment of the respective situations. Nonetheless, it is necessary to use facts to deal with false accusations.
Above all it is necessary to present all people’s comrades with a clearer view of the broader political connections between current events. Our people’s battle with fate is no battle of local questions, of commercial rights or economic interests. It is a question of the fate of our entire continent. Europe’s fate is being decided, which had sharpened the focus of those interested in Europe’s fate on Germany. Berlin is at the center of this decisive continental battle. It is where all leading forces join, those of the front, of the military, of the economy, of the whole European agricultural system. All of Europe today looks to Berlin.
As a result, an enemy terror attack on the Reich capital has an entirely different significance for the European public than an attack on any other city. It must be assumed that the British cannot disregard the indignation of the European capitals they are courting. Therefore, each bombing attack on Berlin must be clear and unmistakable. Defending against that works to the benefit of the whole battle, since heavy damage to or even complete destruction of the various centers of our battle with fare would have serious consequences for the war as a whole as well as for each area of our country.
It is, for example, hardly irrelevant if high offices of the Wehrmacht, the Luftwaffe, or the navy in Berlin are destroyed. It is equally important for the front that central economic agencies remain intact, e.g., Speer’s ministry, the Reich Labor Ministry, or the Reich Office for Armaments and Construction.
Our people everywhere in the country depend on the Reich Food Central, on the Reich Ministry of Economics, on the Reich Office for Agriculture. The result of holdups and difficulties in these areas hardly needs to be discussed.
It is also nonsense to see press and radio reports of enemy attacks on Berlin as giving special attention to the Berliners. Such an attitude gives the enemy a thousand ways to spread his divisive propaganda in our people’s community. For example, the rumor has spread in some western German areas that the Berliners back in January got significant additional food rations and coffee after two nights of bombing. That malicious rumor is intended to divide the people. It is a kind of separatism. Each responsible German knows that today, more than ever, the complete unity of our people is needed. As Bismarck once said: “If Germans stand together, they can drive the Devil from Hell.” Our enemies know that very all, and have already experienced that in this war.
Therefore, they leave nothing untried to destroy German unity, and spreading such rumors and supporting such bitterness advances this enemy effort.
B. Questions regarding German labor during the war.
a) Why?After the rousing appeal of Reichsleiter and Reich Minister Dr. Goebbels in Berlin’s Sport Palace, there is hardly anyone among our German people who asks “Why?” It is clear to all our people’s comrades that the war’s questions cannot be solved if the whole people, with all its professions, occupations, and classes does not concentrate on victory and reject with determination any continuation of peacetime practices. It is a matter of our very existence that demands the full effort of all people’s comrades, without exception.
Much more often we hear the question: “Why so late?” One can answer this question only after such a great political event that considered all psychological aspects, which are well known by our responsible leaders. As with other peoples, our people was not ready for such a serious appeal as long as they were accustomed to victories. Formerly we almost exclusively heard victory announcements over the radio and read daily accounts in the press about the great historic heroic deeds of our solders. It was impossible to imagine that the war could take a more troublesome course. Our people was unconcerned, confident in the war and its laws.
Only the serious crisis of last winter showed us that we have no right to such an attitude. We face an enemy in the East who is attempting to escape his fate through the ruthless use of vast, bloody terror to a degree unimaginable to us. The Soviets have developed total war to a degree that cannot be surpassed. Since the Jews are fighting for their power, they are pitilessly using everyone in the USSR in battle and labor for the Jewish war. The Jews do not care if millions perish as a result. They do not ask if the peoples of the Soviet Union will be destroyed for all time.
The leadership of the German people can never act in that way, for their goal in battle is: the eternity of the nation. As a result, the German people’s total war effort for victory must follow different principles. There can be no terror or compulsion, no ruthless labor to the point of exhaustion, but rather the mobilization of volunteers through appeals to the heart, to the German sense of duty, and to the fighting will to life of our people’s comrades. That is our way to release all our strength for victory. That requires a spiritual readiness than comes only from an awareness of approaching danger. That is why the appeal could only be made now. Earlier it would have been psychologically false and unsuccessful.
b) The German face of factories must be preserved. This, too, is of decisive importance at present. As long as most workers in our factories and workshops were German people’s comrades, we could not be threatened by taking on foreign laborers. Now, however, many former “u. k.” men [the abbreviation for those exempt from military service] will be sent to the front. That requires that each open job is filled by a German people’s comrade, whether it be a man or a woman. Each factory must have a leading German presence if it is to have the German face that will guide foreign workers to serve our interests.
That is also why it is important that a firm and harmonious relationship prevails among German workers. Foreign workers, above all the Eastern Europeans and POWs are mostly silent workers because of their linguistic weaknesses. That does not mean that they are not careful observers. The opposite, in fact. Many people are used to being quiet, but that makes them all the better observers. German workers must display a sworn camaraderie in front of these foreigners that will give a vivid picture of the German people’s community. That is an important protection against sabotage and enemy activity, while at the same time providing an impressive picture of the attitude of our German people, united in National Socialism.
c) No agitational slogans about class conflict. There are occasional people’s comrades who want to prove themselves as 110% fighters in these total war measures. These overzealous souls accuse anyone not wandering around in dirty work clothes and greasy hands of being “lazy drones.” They see white collar workers in offices, art studios, laboratories and the like, who are doing work important for the war effort, as less valuable. A woman who after finishing work is well-dressed and has a good hair-do is a thorn in their eye.
Such people’s comrades are generally well-intentioned, but one most energetically oppose their false idea. National Socialist does not demand unnecessary privations; rather, it takes takes the reasonable position that care is part of culture. We, therefore, do not reject reasonable care of body and clothing, instead encourage them as far as it possible today. Any attempt to reduce everyone to the lowest common level is Jewish-Bolshevist agitation that we most oppose energetically. An unappealing woman is and remains in our eyes a slattern and a disgrace to the dignity of German womanhood.
Party comrades, therefore, must take a strong stance against such false opinions.
d) Foreign workers in the Reich. The current war is a battle for Europe’s fate. It requires the use of all our continent’s resources, particularly in the economic sphere. The direction that the war has taken requires the use of all available European raw materials, newly developed substitutes, and the resulting production by all workers. Since all are equally threatened by Bolshevism and will be destroyed if it wins, all must obviously carry their share of the war’s burdens, if not of the fighting, at least in labor. This is true both for the peoples we defeated in the course of this war in the states we now occupy as well as for the liberated Eastern peoples freed by the victories of the German Wehrmacht. Adolf Hitler’s victory is in everyone’s interest, whether they admit that today or not.
He who is willing to work must be treated accordingly. It is not necessary to flatter all these people and say nice things to them, but neither may they directly or indirectly be insulted and have their dignity injured. They are all part of the coming new European order. In this coming era we will have to live together and work with them and they with us. It is, therefore, important that even today they learn to esteem and respect Germany. That can happen only through correct, just, and dignified treatment of these people in the daily work routine.
The requires us to review carefully our relationship to foreign workers. We cannot treat people from the East as beasts and barbarians if we demand that they work responsibly and carefully for victory. During the Kampfzeit National Socialism distinguished between the system of the democratic-Marxist parties on the one hand and the people these parties had led astray on the other hand. Just so today, we must not automatically equate each worker from the East with Stalin and the bestial Bolshevist system. That does not change our attitude toward Bolshevism. If we treat workers from the East justly and correctly, we will persuade hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of these people to understand the ways in which they were formerly misruled, and thus win them over to a relentless battle against the Bolshevist terror regime.
Our treatment of other foreign workers must also aim at encouraging the work we expect from them. Their work alone is of decisive importance for the war effort at present.
One thing above all is important: Discussions or opinions about the future nature of Europe and the role of the individual countries in the coming picture of our continent are wrong. During the Kampfzeit the Führer only said that he wanted power. He declined any polemics about how that power would be used. After the takeover of power our German people’s comrades experienced the miracle of National Socialist construction and after a short time 99% of them voluntarily affirmed the Führer and his goals.
Europe and the European states should measure us by our deeds after victory. Today there is but one thing to hammer into them: without German victory, there will be no life or future for Europe.
Statements that Germany wants to colonize the East and that the area will in the future serve German’s economic needs are entirely out of order. For the same reason, there should be no comments on the material side of the German victory in the East. The goal should be this alone: Down with Bolshevism. We will leave everything else to the Führer.
The same is true for all thoughts of Germanizing territory. Enemy propaganda makes good use of this question to turn opinion against Germany. We have no reason to support enemy agitation through such chatter.
Of particular importance for all our German people’s comrades is their personal attitude toward foreign workers in the Reich. German nature easily leads us to be susceptible to pity and emotions. Each miserable person, each tragic personal story of poverty and persecution makes us spontaneously want to help and assist. That is in itself a very lovely emotion, but not one understandable to the mentality of foreigners. It is mostly seen as a weakness. It is therefore very important that we avoid close contact with foreign workers. Such close relationships bring great dangers. It is a proven fact that as a result of years of anti-German agitation, many foreign workers did not come here with friendly feelings. Many want to commit sabotage, to spy for enemy powers, and do do all sorts of other hostile things. The helpfulness of German people’s comrades, close contact, establishing a building community, and the like supports such activities, such that some German people’s comrades help the enemy without realizing it.
The biological danger that can result from close community with foreigners is of equal importance. The blood-determined German nature is of decisive importance for our German life today and in the future. In it rests the strength of our whole existence. Any blood-mixing is destructive and diminishes the German life force. Guarding German ethnic pride and national consciousness is a primary task that the party must take particularly seriously. This is especially the case where close contact with foreigners cannot be avoided, as for example with foreign household help. On the one hand it is wrong to treat them as slaves. There are occasional reports that maids from the East cannot sleep in beds, take baths, and have contact with children are absurd. The important thing here is to watch carefully so that no subversive influences and no dangers to health result from the necessarily close living conditions. The policy is always strict but just, always being conscious of German dignity.
C. Food supplies and war-related restrictions.
D. General questions regarding daily life.
will be handled in a subsequent issue of the Redner-Schnellinformation prepared for party discussion evenings.
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