The 1936 Olympics as Propaganda
Nazis turned the olympics into a vast international propaganda effort
They created a massive sense of occassion through use of choirs and the Hindenberg airship during the opening ceremony.
The torch relay was originally a Nazi idea
Many foreign visitors were impressed by the sense of order and proficiency in Germany
The games were used to show the world that Aryan Germans truly were the master race; all of Germany's team were Aryan and they were the highest ranking in the medal table.
However, the star of the olympic games was 2 things Hitler hated: Black American athlete Jesse Owens who won four gold medals, the most for any individual in the entire games.
The Impact of Propaganda
The overall impact of propaganda should not be overestimated.
It did not succeed in creating a national Volksgemeinschaft, or indoctrinating everyone
Nazis promotion of propaganda messages at the expenxe of entertainment caused many people's interest to wane. (However, young people seemed to be particularly susceptible to propaganda)
However, the abscence of reliable opinion polls makes it difficult to tell whether or not low level of opposition was a result of propaganda or terror.
Hitler myth: Portrayal of Hitler vs reality
- Sole protector, and saviour of the nation (Explains how he could justiy NOLK)
- 'Supreme judge' of the German people
- Utterly devoted to his country
- political genius
- Man of strength and determination
- Man of integrity
- Defender of traditional values
- Embodiment of the People's will
- Lazy, often on holiday
- Often dithered before making decisions
- Not responsible for some successes of Nazi policy (Hjalmar Schacht managed economic recovery from 1933-35)
The 'Economic Miracle'
Emphasised economic achievements, i.e improving of infrastructure (Autobahns) and promotion of autarky
Claimed improved standard of living (Proved by the Volkswagen car and the 'People's reciever' radios)
- Unemployment fell, but remained higher than propaganda indicated
- Some successful investment projects the Nazis took credit for had been launched in the latter days of Weimar govt. - The economic recovery had begun before the Nazis got into power
- Most people did not benefit more than marginally from 'Strength through Joy'
- Mass production of the VW did not begin until after the war. (VW factories turned their attentions to munitions)
- Autarky was never achieved: 1939, 1/3 of raw materials were still being imported