How did the Nazis use propaganda to keep control of Germany?

  • Created by: Lauren
  • Created on: 11-11-18 23:48

How did the Nazis use propaganda to keep control of Germany?


Josef Goebbels was appointed Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and propaganda in March 1933. Hitler decreed that Goebbels was to have wide-ranging control over the intellectual and cultural life of the nation in June 1933. The Ministry of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda was established in 1933 and was led by Goebbels. The Ministry included seven ‘chambers’ and over saw the output of and personnel working in the press, radio, film, literature, theatre, music and fine arts. The Ministry co-ordinated and promoted propaganda using censorship and control of the news, the dissemination of pro-Nazi messages using radio and posters, the organisation of rallies, marches and public spectacles and the organisation of the annual Nazi Party Nuremberg Rally. Leni Riefenstahl was commissioned to make the film Triumph of the Will.



The traditional means of propaganda such as political posters were common in Germany. Simple and inexpensive posters were essential to the Nazi Party in proclaiming its ideas. Posters focused on urban unemployment and poverty, the plight of the farmers, and the threats posed by Marxists and international Jewry. The Nazis stressed their will, strength and identification with ‘national revival’. Ordinary Germans could not escape such a visual onslaught as they walked the streets, or sat in trains and trams. The power of the poster as propaganda was that it caught the voter unawares. The focus of the visual propaganda was to enforce conformity and winning over Germans to the cause of creating a national community and New Germany. They celebrated Nazi achievements such as the reduction of unemployment and the building of the Autobahn.



Control of the press was not as easily achieved by Goebbels as Germany had over 4700 daily newspapers in 1933.The papers were all owned privately and owed no loyalty to the central government but rather their publishing company, religion or political party. The Nazi publishing house, Eher Verlag, bought up many newspapers and by 1939 controlled two thirds of the German Press. The various new agencies were merged into one, the DNB. This was state controlled so that the news was vetted before it reached journalists. The Editors’ Law of October 1933 meant that newspaper content was made the sole responsibility of the editor, who had to satisfy the requirements of the propaganda ministry. The central role of the press was not to convert those who challenged the Nazis but to reinforce the prejudices of the believers.



Once in power, Goebbels efficiently brought all broadcasting under Nazi control by the creation of the Reich Radio Company. He also dismissed 13% of his staff on political and racial grounds and replaced them with his own men. In 1932, less than 25% of German households owned a wireless and the government made provisions for the production of a cheap set, the People’s Receiver. Radio was a new and dynamic medium and access increased markedly. By 1939, 70% of


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