Background: This is the section of a book on Nazi Party history in Gau Westfalen-Nord that covers the propaganda activities of the party after the takeover of power in 1933. Each Gau, or region, of the party had a Gaupropagandaleitung (Gau Propaganda Office), which was further divided into county and local group propaganda offices.
The source: Arno Schröder, Mit der Partei Vorwärts! Zehn Jahre Gau Westfalen-Nord (Detmold: Lippische Staatszeitung, NS-Verlag, 1940), pp. 65-70.
by Arno Schröder
Before the takeover of power, propaganda focused entirely on the NSDAP’s battle to gain power, but after the takeover of power things changed completely. The movement’s propaganda activity was now much broader. Since the takeover of power, every area of life of the German people falls under the party’s concern. Today, all the major propaganda activities of the National Socialist movement, all popular festivals and national holidays, all happenings and events that have anything to do with extending and strengthening National Socialist principles, are aimed at anchoring the Führer’s idea ever more deeply into the people. Alongside the events relevant to the whole Reich, such as 1 May, the Thanksgiving festival, Reich exhibitions or major advertising campaigns and the like, e.g., the familiar campaigns to “Eat more fish!” or “Drink German wine!,” our propaganda has many opportunities at the Gau level to contribute to the victory of the National Socialist worldview, to conquer German hearts.
Since then, active propaganda in Gau Westfalen-Nord has been very lively. Party comrade Brauns took over this area shortly after the takeover of power, and had only the most basic resources. The entire equipment of the Gaupropagandaleitung at the time consisted of a desk and a rolling cabinet. Within a short time, major advertising campaigns with great successes could be carried out in Gau Westfalen-Nord. With the beginning of the Gau Ring, propaganda work entered a new phase. Party comrade Dr. Meyer established the Gau Ring for National Socialist Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, which included even the smallest club or organization. The work of the Propaganda Ring has been particularly evident in the party’s major events. One remembers the Kreis rally of the NSDAP, which brought together all circles of the population, including sporting clubs, rifle clubs, fire departments, singing groups, etc. The Propaganda Ring is active in many areas. For example, during the last Thanksgiving festival, an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease made it impossible for many farmers to participate in the procession. The Propaganda Ring organized gardeners, beekeepers, animal breeders, small holders, and other such groups of this type to participate in the procession, which enabled the event, which has already become a tradition, to continue. The Propaganda Ring also organizes traveling exhibitions which have been particularly popular with all groups of the populace. One need only recall the North German Colonial Exhibition, which drew thousands of German people’s comrades for weeks. It is not possible to list all of the Propaganda Ring’s activities. In particular, however, it is worth mentioning the Propaganda Ring’s role in carrying out the Five-Year Plan, in the campaign against traffic accidents, in the “Day of German Ethnicity” and the “Day of National Solidarity,” the population, occupation, and factory census of spring 1939, and also in recruiting people for the Mothers’ Service in Austria, in the scrap metal collection drive, in the solstice festivals, in the “Week of the German Book,” and particularly its agrarian-political activities to combat the migration from rural areas. Those are only a few examples of the wide range of questions that come under the Propaganda Ring’s concerns. That also includes, of course, the distribution of educational material and pamphlets as well as the weekly quotation poster of the Gaupropagandaleitung, which is posted in easily visible places in all Gau offices.
The work of the Gau Picture Office, closely tied to the names of party comrades Marburger and Dr. Barlage, is also not insignificant. The party can provide local groups in every county with slide shows today. The Gau Picture Office held over 300 slide shows last year alone. And besides the usual program of public meetings, there is the annual campaign titled “1,000 meetings in Gau Westfalen-Nord.” Within a week, this arranges numerous mass meetings in each county for which all Gau and county speakers are available. In 1939, 972 meetings were held during this week.
The work of the Gau Film Office is of particular importance. After the takeover of power, the Gau Film Office, like all other branches of the party, lacked resources. The work began with a loaned vehicle and a rented projector. One could not really speak of an organization. Gradually, the work expanded. Today, our Gau has 19 county and 1,090 local film officials. The Gau Film Office has 42 vehicles and 38 projectors. The beginning of the war forced reductions in the schedule, since vehicles and projectors were transferred to the military’s propaganda companies. Still, we can be proud today that there is hardly a city or village in the entire Gau that does not get at least one visit a month from the Gau Film Office. The policy is as follows: larger areas without a cinema have one film a week, smaller towns once every two weeks, and the smallest villages once a month. Between 1934 and the end of July 1940, the Gau Film Office held 34,897 films shows with a total of 6,580,526 attendees.
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