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The Nazi Party:
Nazi Propagnda Tactics

(May 1930)

Nazi Party: Table of Contents | Background & Overview | Photographs

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The following is excerpted from a report issued by the Prussian Ministry of the Interior in May 1930:

... The rapid and steady growth of the National Socialist movement is due primarily to the catastrophic worsening of the economic condition of large segments of the population. Gaining more adherents is the perception that only a fundamentally different political and economic basis can check this development. Since the economic situation is the result of the lost war and its financial ramifications, the propaganda of the National Socialists is gaining more and more support. They call for a fundamental elimination of the "tribute obligations" to foreign countries and want to reach this goal by changing the domestic political power relationships in favor of a National Socialist regime in the form of a "third Reich." It is primarily economic despair that is winning followers for National Socialism because these groups see a radical change as their only hope. ...

It is noteworthy that the majority of the supporters of National Socialism come especially from those segments of the population which have been hardest hit by the present economic distress. Included are, on the one hand, those who have been affected by the misery of the agricultural situation as well as, on the other hand, the gradually slipping middle class comprised of small scale businessmen in small towns which has suffered from the high cost of credit and the competition of large businesses. Included too are salaried personnel who have already lost their jobs, or for whom unemployment threatens. And finally also included is the new, young academic talent - that is, students and university scholars who because of the economic situation have lost all hope of making a living in the future. Added to this lately is a not inconsiderable number of lower-and middle-ranking officials, especially from administrative offices ... such as the postal service, the railroad administration, the revenue service, as well as from the ranks of teachers. In contrast to the working class, which in this situation tends more toward communism, these groups are seeking to avoid at all cost sinking to the level of the "proletariat," and consequently see their salvation embodied by the other, "non-Marxist" radicalism - National Socialism. ...

Added to this is the important factor of the type and scope of the party's propaganda. Selected districts are veritably inundated and worked-over with propaganda operations consisting of methodically and skillfully prepared written and verbal appeals as well as schedule of meetings, all of which in terms of sheer activity cannot in the least be matched by any other party or political movement.

Hardly a day passes when there are not several meetings held in even very narrowly defined local areas. Carefully organized propaganda headquarters in the individual districts see to it that speakers and topics are in tune with local conditions and economic circumstances. The party's Reichstag and Landtag [regional parliament] delegates as well as a great number of other party speakers are on the road continually, developing and expanding these agitation tactics. Through systematic training courses, correspondence courses, and recently through the NSDAP speaker-training school established on July 1, 1929, such agitators are training for this task over a period of months and even years. If they prove to be qualified they receive official recognition from the party and are given a contract to give at least thirty speeches during an eight-month period, for which they are granted an incentive fee of 20 Reichsmark per evening in addition to expenses.

Rhetorical skills are combined with lecture topics carefully selected to suit the particular audience, which in the rural areas and in small towns is mainly interested in economic matters. This, according to our observations, ensures that meeting halls are almost invariably overcrowded with approving listeners. Meetings with an audience of between one thousand and five thousand people are a daily occurrence in the bigger cities. ...

At these events the government's entire internal and foreign policy is attacked in a demagogical style that does not shy away even from falsification, distortion, and slander. They are abusive and contemptuous of the government and blame it for the economic crisis. ...

This propaganda is backed up almost everywhere by the simultaneous appearance of SA people, who, on bicycles or on trucks - some belonging to the party - go to the individual meetings in an area and merely through being there give a speaker considerable support, help fill the hall itself, act as a protective force for the meeting, and in the end also act as a coercive force in that they allow no one to interject or contradict the speaker, which more or less makes it impossible for anyone to make counter arguments. By their public appearance they directly and indirectly help advertise the meeting, and thereby support the speaker's propaganda, entice sympathizers and the curious, and ultimately through their organization of parades in uniform they win supporters locally, primarily from among the younger generation.

On such occasions the network of local groups is expanded as far as possible, or at least trusted individuals are recruited in order to lay the groundwork for the expansion of the movement through intensive, pervasive, word-of-mouth propaganda. Frequently such propaganda squads remain in a certain place for several days and attempt to inspire support for the Party from the local population by staging a variety of events such as concerts, sports festivals, military marching spectacles, as well as even closed-rank church attendance in suitable towns. In other towns a propaganda speaker from elsewhere will be stationed for a certain length of time; with a car at his disposal, he will then systematically travel through the surrounding area. National Socialist theater groups also travel from town to town, serving the same purpose. ....

Sources: B. C. Sax & D. Kuntz, "Inside Hitler's Germany," Massachusetts, 1992, pp. 98-100; Yad Vashem

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