Propaganda presents information primarily to influence people. It generally does not provide information impartially or completely. Propaganda often presents facts selectively. “Lying by Omission” or sometimes including some untrue stories, thoughts is a general practice in propaganda, to justify an idea or to seek the support the people. Propaganda uses special messages to generate an emotional response to the information presented rather than a logical one.
Since propaganda is generally used to win the support of the people for the government policies, the German government propaganda also aimed to gain the support of the German people, people in the occupied countries and also it aimed to psychologically affect the people in the enemy territories. The German propagandas included the use of radio broadcasts, motion pictures, poster distributions and cartoons.
The propaganda ministry worked in such a way that people would learn German culture and beliefs and also mainly the Germany’s right to rule the world. Even when the war started turning against the Axis powers, Germans said that they were trying to save the world from the evils of Communism.
In Italy, Mussolini motivated the Italians with the dreams of re-establishing the ancient Rome. Italian propaganda also tried to ridicule the fighting ability of the Allied soldiers.
Japanese government promised to the people of the occupied lands a share of the Greater East Asia, wealth to be shared in all eastern Asia under the rule of Japan, with the slogan “Asia For Asians”. The Japanese claimed that they were freeing Asia from European Rulers.
In England, The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) claimed that they were open so that people would learn the truth. But in Germany, it was forbidden to watch BBC.
In the United States (US), the government established the “Office of War Information” (OWI) to broadcast the US propaganda during the war. OWI broadcasted the US cause for the war “the fight for a better world” and seek the support of the people for it.
He was born on 29 October 1897, in Rheydt, Germany into a working class family. He originally did not fit the Nazi stereotype figure. He was barely 5 feet (150cm) tall with dark eyes instead of blue and olive skin. His left foot was crippled and therefore noticeable limping. Against all the odds, he rose to the top and was appointed as the propaganda minister of the Nazi Germany.
Goebbels earned a Ph.D. from Heidelberg University in 1921, writing his doctoral thesis on 18th-century romantic drama. He then worked as a journalist. He also wrote unsuccessful novels and plays.
Goebbels came into contact with the Nazi Party in 1923 during the French occupation of the Ruhr and became a member in 1924. He was appointed as the regional party leader of Berlin. In this position, he started to exhibit his propaganda skills, and combatted the local socialists and communist parties with the help of Nazi papers and the paramilitary troops. By 1928, he had risen in the National Socialist German Workers’ Party ranks to become one of its most prominent members. In this position, he helped Hitler to bring Nazis to the power in 1933.
One of his very famous acts was the “burning of books” in Berlin in 1933, the books that are rejected by the Nazis. He aimed to pass the message to persuade both the Germans and the rest of the world for them to believe in the cause of the Nazi Germany.
During WW2, Goebbels exerted totalitarian power and controlled all the media, publications, radio programs, motion pictures and the messages conveyed in all the arts performed in Germany and German dominated Europe. He perfected the “Big Lie” technique of propaganda, which is based on the principle that a lie, if loud enough and repeated enough times, will be believed by the masses. Goebbels used modern propaganda techniques to psychologically prepare the German people for aggressive war and the extermination of civilian populations. By late 1943, even when the tide of the war was turning against the Axis powers, Goebbels intensified his propaganda by urging the Germans to accept the idea of total war and mobilization.
When it became evident that Germany lost the war, Goebbels killed himself and his own family with his firearm on 1 May 1945 in Berlin. There are lots of other stories and confusion about how he killed himself. It is believed that he first poisoned his six young children then he either shot his wife Magda and then himself or ordered an SS soldier to shoot both of them. He also might have taken poison in addition to being shot. Their bodies were burned with gasoline and before buried. But since there was not enough gasoline to completely burn him, the Soviets Army was able to identify his corps.
We should never accept any delivered speech or idea without any supporting facts and try our best to make rational rather than emotional decisions. We should always keep in mind that delivered speeches could be a simple “Propaganda” to effect our decisions. Further, we should never forget that the decisions we make and the actions we take based on those decisions always come along with us and affect our future.