Nazi Propaganda and Art

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Nazi Propaganda and Control of the Arts
The Nazis used two main methods of control:
1. Terror
2. Propaganda
From very outset Nazis realised the importance of propaganda. They had used propaganda in
their rise to power. Once established they continued to rely on propaganda as a means of
control. Under the Nazis all means of public communication was brought under their control and
used to spread their propaganda.
Goebbels expressed the overall Nazi aim with regard to culture when stating that "our historic
mission is to transform the very spirit itself to the extent that people and things are brought into
a new relationship with one another."
Major themes coming through the Nazi perception of culture include: AntiSemitism, militarism,
glorification of war, nationalism, and the master race theory, the cult of the Fuhrer and
repudiation of traditional Christian values.
The Nazi regime created a Ministry of Propaganda and Popular Enlightenment in March 1933
under Joseph Goebbels.
Propaganda was used to:
1. Glorify the Nazi regime.
2. Spread Nazi values and censor those who did not agree with their opinions.
3. Win over the people.
Reich Culture Chamber ­ The cultural life of Germany was to be coordinated by the Reich
Chamber of Culture which was answerable to the Propaganda Ministry run by Joseph Goebbels.
Established September 1933, "to promote German culture for the benefit ... of the Reich." This
exercised control of artistic life. The Reich Culture Chamber dealt with cinema/film, rallies,
theatre, music, literature, art, architecture and sculpture.
Rich classical tradition in German music promoted and celebrated by Nazism. However, Jewish
composers were banned. Hitler's personal favourites such as Wagner were stressed.
Jewish music was banned in racial terms and danceband music was labelled `decadent'.
10th May 1933: Burning of Jewish books and any anti=Nazi literature.
Sets the tone for the cultural life of Nazi Germany. Any books expressing ideas which did not
fall into the Nazi line of thought were destroyed.
Favoured books based on "blood and soil", comradeship and rural, peasant past.
Over 2,500 German writers and dramatists left Germany between 1933 and 1945.
Mein Kampf was the bestseller.
German broadcasting had always operated in regional areas. The Nazi Government centralised
this by the creation of the Reich Radio Company. He sacked those he disagreed with and
replaced them with sympathisers willing to spread Nazi message. "You have in your hands the
most modern instrument in existence for influencing the masses."
1932: 25% of the population owned radios.
Nazis produced a cheap and affordable radio known as the People's Receiver which ensured
that the majority of Germans (70%) had a radio by 1942 so that the Nazi message would be

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Nazis enforced communal listening to Hitler's broadcasts within factories, schools, offices and
shops. Loudspeakers were erected in streets and town squares.
In wartime Germany (19391945) the radio became vital to sustain morale and spread victory
propaganda throughout Germany. Other forms of communication could not be sustained so the
Nazi regime relief heavily on the radio. Hitler's message to the German people after the failed
1944 bomb plot was essential in restoring confidence and undermining the power of the
1932: Fuhrer over Germany.…read more

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They are not only aesthetic but also moral in nature."
Hitler's youthful ambition as an artist prompted him to take a closer interest in the visual arts
than did any other 20th century dictator.
Once in power, Hitler began to remove corrupt or "degenerate" art by Enemies of the State and
replace it with "healthy Aryan" art.…read more

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Nazi Architecture was like another form of propaganda. It was often incorporated tall, dominated
structures to give the people hope and to inspire them, to make them see what a great country
Germany could be. This effect was often reinforced when a lot of the architecture was adorned
with great eagles and swastikas (Brandenburg Gates in Berlin, Germany), symbols of the Nazi
Party. Most architecture also embodied what the Nazi Party stood for and made links to the
past and the proud German heritage.…read more


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