Civilian Propaganda

Studies have shown that a people's attitudes can be drastically affected by propaganda campaigns.  No where is this more true than in the case of Nazi Germany.  The Nazi party in Germany was successful in convincing the citizens of Germany of the legitimacy of their ideas and actions.  The German people were complicit in the horrendous acts committed by the Nazi party, including the invasion of Poland in the early stages of the Second World War.

The Nazi propaganda campaign was extensive and permeated much of German society leading up to and throughout the Second World War.  The Nazi party utilized various forms of propaganda, ranging from posters, speeches, radio, film, and pamphlets.  The Nazis even went so far as to include propaganda as a part of the standard curriculum in state schools.

Much of the Nazi propaganda was used to help build faith in Nazi leaders.  The propaganda aimed to establish a trust in the Nazi government, allowing for the German citizens to be supportive of all of the Nazis' actions.  Examples of this type of propaganda can easily be found.

This poster text translates to, "Fuhrer we will follow you."

This poster clearly glorifies Hitler, with rays of light shining on him.

This poster idealizes the S.S. officer.

This type of propaganda, while not directly aimed towards any policies or actions such as the Polish invasion, created support for the Nazi party as a whole.  Propaganda aimed to garner support for the party helped raise approval for the Nazi party.  With such blanket support from the citizens of Germany, the Nazi party was able to take extreme actions, such as invading Poland.

The Nazis also created propaganda to support specific ideologies and policy goals.  The clearest example of this was the anti-Semitic propaganda that was prevalent throughout Germany.

This is a poster advertising for an anti-Semitic film, "The Eternal Jew."  The Nazis used film as part of their propaganda machine.

The Nazis also had propaganda aimed to garner support for the invasion of Poland.  The Nazis actually released a booklet following the invasion of Poland that detailed the invasion.  It contained various images of the invasion.

Cover of booklet
This booklet was used to gather support for the invasion after the fact.  The Nazis also flooded German society with propaganda before the invasion that justified their plans.  Part of the Nazi ideology was that Germany needed more space and therefore needed to invade and conquer other lands.  In attempts to convince the German people of this the Nazis even went so far as to teach the necessity for German expansion as part of in state schools.  An excerpt from a German geology textbook discusses the German people's need for more space.

An English translation of this text can be found online at:

The pervasiveness of Nazi propaganda was effective in convincing the German people to support the Nazi party and its policies.  The Nazis were successful in gathering support for specific policies, but for winning the approval of the German citizenry.  German citizens were by and large supportive of the Nazi party and trusting in their leader.  The Nazis were able to convince the German population of the necessity of their policies and the righteousness of their leader.  With such blanket approval, the Nazi party had free reign to not only invade Poland but to engage in a large-scale war and commit horrendous acts of violence against its own people.

Alana Colson

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