Friday, November 30, 2012

                What marked the Beginning of World War II was the German Invasion of Poland. On August 22 of 1939 at Hitler’s Obersalzburg home, Hitler addressed his Wehrmacht commanders in regards to the Invasion of Poland.
                "I will provide a propagandistic casus belli. Its credibility doesn't matter. The victor will not be asked whether he told the truth."
This excerpt is now known to be a part of the “Armenian Quote”, getting its name because of Hitler’s reference to “Who, after all, speaks today of the Annihilation of the Armenians."
Hitler wanted to invade Poland and implement his ethnic cleansing program. The invasion had been in the works since 1928 when Wehrmacht General Werner Von Fritsch started working on the Fall Weiss strategic plan for the Invasion of Poland.
Although Hitler was confident in his abilities to successfully invade Poland, he was not confident in the support he had from the German people. Hitler saw firsthand through World War I how losing popular support can lead to a defeat in the war, so he made it a primary objective to make the Polish people a common enemy to the German People.
Hitler was able to successfully do this through a national and international propaganda campaign that accused Poles and Polish authorities of committing violent atrocities against ethnic Germans that were living in Poland. Although this did help in creating opposition to the Poles, Hitler needed something bigger to fully justify the invasion.
At Hitler’s orders the German propaganda campaign against the Poles came to its peak under “Operation Himmler”, which was a false flag project that would show there was Polish aggression giving the people of Germany fear of their neighbors in Poland, leading them to support a first strike.
On August 31, 1939, the night before the invasion of Poland, undercover German units dressed in Polish uniforms attacked and seized the Gleiwitz station where they broadcasted an anti-German message in Poland. To the make the plan look even more valid, the Germans took Poles from concentration camps, killed them, put them in uniform, and left them dead at the scene.
Along with the Gleiwitz incident there were other incidents throughout the night along the Polish-German border. The next day when Hitler announced the invasion of Poland, he cited the border incidents, calling them all very serious and a justification for the German invasion of Poland. 

Military Propaganda

One of the most powerful weapons used by the Nazis during the war was their skillful propaganda. Its goal was to force Nazi ideas on the civilians. Propaganda was used to justify antisemitism and other Nazi ideals. In Hitler's book Mein Kampf, Hitler stated that "propaganda tries to force a doctrine on the whole people... Propaganda works on the general public from the standpoint of and idea and makes them ripe for the victory of this idea." Mein Kampf was Hitler's first way of using propaganda to spread the principles of National Socialism. In 1933 Hitler created a Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment whose goal was to make sure that the Nazi's message was successfully communicated through radio, the press and other types of media.

                                         This sign says "No entrance for Poles." Signs like these led to 
                                             the propaganda and destruction of the Poles. 

                                                This is an antisemitic poster calling Jews warmongers.

                                               "Bolshevism without a mask - large anti-Bolshevik exhibition of the NSDAP Gauleitung Berlin from       November 6, 1937 to December 19, 1937 in the Reichstag Building."

The goal of this poster is to recruit Nazis.

The Nazis used lots of tricky methods to get the civilians on their side. Propaganda was more powerful than the civilians knew. But Hitler knew and it's power and it used it to make himself even more powerful. After the invasion of Poland he even had leaflets dropped that were full of propaganda. 

“Nazi Propaganda.” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, accessed September 26, 2012,

Alex Truex

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Anti-Polish Propaganda

"I will provide a propagandistic casus belli.  Its credibility doesn't matter.  The victor will not be asked whether he told the truth." -Adolf Hitler to his generals August 22nd, 1939   
Translation: Danzig (Polish city) is German
Nazi Germany’s expansion during the 30’s alarmed England and France. England in particular thought that the Germans would attempt to invade Poland, and promised to assist the Polish in the event of an invasion. The Nazis used this fact as a propaganda tool, claiming that Poland and England were conspiring against the German people, and would eventually invade Germany while it was still rearming as a result of the Versailles Treaty reparations if the Germans did not act offensively. The Nazis’ propaganda to the German people thus framed the German invasion as a preemptive strike against those who would eventually do the same, if given the chance.
The Nazi Party of Germany used copious amounts of propaganda over the course of the 1930’s, which made it ideologically easier for the German soldiers occupying Poland to commit violence against its people.  The steady stream of cultural saturation went on for long enough that the new generation of German soldiers were raised on it.  While the Nazi propagandists attempted to justify the “deportation” of Polish citizens as necessary for the spread of German culture, the reality was much harsher.  There might have even been explicit instructions to the officers of the Wehrmacht to use wanton violence as a form of intimidation and pacification when the invasion started.  The Einsatzgruppen used violence as a tool regardless of whether these orders were explicit or not.  The approximate decade of propaganda probably made this task easier on the extermination teams’ minds.
Polish violence against ethnic German like "Bloody Sunday" aided the German propaganda machine.

This tension culminated in a staged attack on German buildings on the border by officers of the SS. The officers stormed the structures, firing wild shots without hitting anyone.  They retreated shortly after, leaving dead bodies of concentration camp prisoners dressed as Polish soldiers.  While the international community did not believe that the event, real or staged, was justification for a German invasion of Poland, Hitler used it as concrete justification for a German "preemptive" strike against Poland.