The War That Hitler Won (Magill's Literary Annual 1979)
Recent studies of Nazi Germany have confirmed that ruthless advances in the techniques and content of propaganda were perhaps the most revolutionary feature of the Nazi dictatorship. Effective propaganda techniques had helped bring the Nazis to power, and a successful propaganda offensive was absolutely vital for the consolidation of the regime. After 1933, Nazi leaders had to use skillful propaganda to convince the German people that a genuine, dynamic revolution had taken place. It was imperative that the Germans be prepared to fight to the end for that final Nazi objective, total war. Above all, with the coming of World War II a collapse of the home front, as had occurred in Germany in 1918, had to be avoided at all costs. Propaganda would play a key role in sustaining morale and revitalizing the nation. Although the Nazis lost the war, they won the propaganda battle, for most Germans did fight to the bitter end. By 1945, both the consciousness and the conscience of the German people had been successfully altered.
Robert Edwin Herzstein’s study is the most in-depth analysis of Nazi propaganda to appear in recent years. In provides a fascinating, detailed study of the supremely important Minister of Propaganda, Paul Joseph Goebbels. It analyzes and compares a wide variety of mass media: pamphlets, films, speeches, and even “word of mouth propaganda” initiated by the government. It provides a comprehensive survey of the propaganda apparatus and its...
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