Joseph Goebbels was appointed Reich Minister of Propaganda On March 13th 1933. Goebbels proved to be an expert in his mastery of the dark art of propaganda. Goebbels had no formal training in any aspect of propaganda. However, he did seem to fulfil what Adolf Hitler wrote in ‘Mein Kampf’ with regards to the truth: if you are going to tell a lie, tell a big one and if you tell if often enough, people will begin to believe it.
Goebbels produced what he called his ‘Ten Commandments for National Socialists’ in the mid 1920’s. These were to underpin his approaches to propaganda. After January 30th 1933, Goebbels was able to fully use his approach with seemingly no one willing to hold him back. His ‘Ten Commandments for National Socialists’ were:
1. “Your Fatherland is called Germany. Love it above all and more through action than through words.
2. Germany’s enemies are your enemies. Hate them with your whole heart.
3. Every national comrade, even the poorest, is a piece of Germany. Love him as yourself.
4. Demand only duties for yourself. Then Germany will get justice.
5. Be proud of Germany. You ought to be proud of a Fatherland for which millions have sacrificed their lives.
6. He who abuses Germany, abuses you and your dead. Strike your fist against him.
7. Hit a rogue more than once. When one takes away your good rights, remember that you can only fight him physically.
8. Don’t be an anti-Semitic knave. But be careful of the ‘Berliner Tageblatt’.
9. Make your actions that you need no blush when the New Germany is mentioned.
10. Believe in the future. Only then can you be the victor.”
It is known that Goebbels studied the way advertising companies worked in America. A great deal of his written work was made up of short sentences – as the above indicate. Everything was kept simple so that there could be no misunderstanding as to its meaning. When Goebbels wrote for something like ‘Der Angriff’ or ‘Volkischer Beobachter’ he punctuated his sentences with capital letters. For example:
“What we demand is NEW, CLEAR-CUT and RADICAL, therefore in the long run REVOLUTIONARY. The upheaval we want is to be achieved first of all IN THE SPIRIT OF THE PEOPLE. We know no IFS OR BUTS, we know only EITHER…OR.”
Goebbels was never restricted by any moral code. His used his position within the Nazi hierarchy to influence newspapers, the cinema, theatres, art galleries and radio broadcasts. This was all part of Hitler’s ‘gleichshaltung’ policy – coordinating the whole population in Nazi Germany behind Hitler. It was Goebbels idea to ensure that loudspeakers were erected in streets to ensure that the people could hear speeches made by Hitler. This was developed into a scheme that allowed Germans to buy a cheap radio. Goebbels argued that if the Fuehrer had something to say then the people as a whole had to have the ability to hear what he said. However, once a radio had been purchased, each family had to pay 2 Marks a month for a license. During World War Two listening to foreign broadcasts such as the BBC World Service was forbidden.