Nazi Methods of Control

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  • Created by: emmacram
  • Created on: 13-02-16 17:07


  • Propaganda means spreading information that influences how people think and behave. It's a way of shaping people's minds.
  • It gives only certain points of view and often leaves out important facts.
  • The Nazis used powerful propaganda designed to get the support of the German people.
  • The Nazis founded the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in 1933. It was led by Dr Joseph Goebbels..
  • It had departments for music, theatre, film, literature and radio. All artists, writers, journalists and musicians had to register to get their work approved.
  • It tried to persuade everybody that the Nazis were right, and stop people reading or hearing anything that gave a different message.
  • The Nazis encouraged German people to hate the countries that signed the Versailles Treaty.
  • Nazi propaganda said that Jews and communists were the biggest cause of Germany's problems. One Nazi paper claimed that Jews murdered children for the Passover Feast.
  • Nazi propaganda was used to unite the German people and make them believe the Nazis would make Germany strong.
  • Nazi propaganda took simple ideas and repeated them constantly.
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  • Many German people were easier to persuade because the Depression left them in poverty and the Nazis promised to help them.
  • The Nazis controlled the media and decided what would be in the newspapers. They sold cheap radios to the people and controlled the broadcasts.
  • Films showed the strength of the Nazis and Hitler and the weakness of opponents. An important German director was Leni Riefenstahl.
  • Another method of spreading propaganda was through posters showing the evil of Germany's enemies and the power of Hitler.
  • The Nazis used public rallies to spread their propaganda. The annual Nuremberg Rallies focused on speeches by leading Nazis, like Hitler and Goebbels. The 1934 Nuremberg Rally was recorded by Riefenstahl in her film 'Triumph of the Will'.
  • One million people attended the 1936 rally. There were displays of light and flags to greet the arrival of Hitler. These made him look more powerful.
  • Nazi power was also shown through art and architecture and grand new buildings appeared in Nuremberg and Berlin.
  • Sporting events like the 1936 Berlin Olympics were used to show off German wealth and power. Hitler was angered when the African-American athlete Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals
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  • Goebbels also created the 'Hitler Myth' which made Hitler seem like a god and the saviour of Germany.
  • This was the cult of the Fuhrer. Fuhrer means 'Leader' or 'Guide'.
  • A popular slogan was 'One people, one empire, one leader'.
  • The main purpose of the public rallies was to increase loyalty to Hitler.
  • Many Germans devoted their lives to Hitler.
  • Nazis tried to control every aspect of German life, including religion. Some priests who disagreed with the Nazis went to concentration camps.
  • School textbooks made Germans look successful. Children were taught to believe in Nazi doctrines.
  • The 'Strength through Joy' programme sought to show ordinary workers that the Nazi regime cared about their conditions.
  • The Nazis promised an empire that would last a thousand years - based on traditional values.
  • Modern art was banned, in favour of realistic paintings that fit with Nazi ideology. Modern art was labelled degenerate and exhibitions were created to show people how 'bad' it was.
  • The Nazis celebrated the works of 'German' composers, such as Wagner, but much modern classical music, works by Jewish composers and jazz were all attacked.
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  • The culture of the Weimar Republic had disappointed the more old-fashioned Germans. They thought standards in German society had slipped, and welcomed the Nazi approach.
  • People had more freedom under Weimar but Nazis thought this was harmful - they wanted to keep tight control over German society.
  • Workers and middle-class business  people had suffered through the Depression under the Weimar Republic. Nazi promises an 'economic miracle' gave them hope.
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  • In a totalitarian state the government has complete control over all aspects of life.
  • After weakening opposition in 1933, Hitler got the Reichstag to pass the Enabling Act that gave him unlimited power to pass laws.
  • In July 1933, all political parties except the Nazi party were banned. The Law for Reconstruction of the Reich (1934) gave the Nazis total power over the state governments - the local governments in Germany's regions, such as Bavaria, Saxony and Hesse.
  • The SS began as a bodyguard for Hitler. It expanded massively under the leadership of Himmler during the 1930s. Its members were totally loyal to Hitler and feared for their cruelty. Himmler was also in charge of the secret police - the Gestapo.
  • After 1933 concentration camps spread across Germany and its territories to hold political prisoners and anybody else considered dangerous to the Nazis. Some of these were later turned into death camps.
  • Local wardens were employed to make sure Germans were loyal to the Nazis. People were encouraged to report disloyalty. Many were arrested by the Gestapo as a result.
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  • Over 25000 books were burned in a single night in 1933 including the work of Jewish writers like Einstein. This attracted protests in other countries.
  • All newspapers and other media were put under the control of the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Only news favourable to the Nazis was allowed.
  • Jews were forbidden from owning or publishing newspapers and anybody could be executed for publishing anti-Nazi works.
  • In 1934, during the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler had many leaders killed whom he considered dangerous, including Ernst Rohm, leader of the SA, and General von Schleicher.
  • Hitler also tried to bring the Churches under control. Members of some religious groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses were sent to concentraion camps.
  • Trade unions were abolished in 1933 and the German Labour Front was set up to include workers and employers. Strikes became illegal.
  • The Nazis used concentration camps to remove anyone they did not like  including disabled people, homosexuals, Jews and communists.
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