Nazi propaganda used in World War 2
National Socialism or NAZISM is a German totalitarian movement that arose after World War I. It was spawned in the aftermath of a lost war, a time of disillusionment with old social institutions, dissatisfaction with democratic processes, and pervasive fear of communism. Like Italian Fascism, it was dictatorial, nationalistic, and terroristic. What National Socialism added to fascism was a fanatical racism and a policy of incessant international aggression. It is doubtful that one can speak of a philosophy or theory of National Socialism.
When the Nazis rejected the political traditions of the 19th century, they abandoned not only liberal democracy but the whole humanist belief in rational politics. They saw conflict and violence as the basic laws of life, and they appealed to passion and emotions as instruments in the struggle. Such putative “philosophy” of National Socialism as those expressed in Hitler’s Mein Kampf or Alfred Rosenberg’s Myth of the Twentieth Century makes it abundantly clear that theory served the Nazis simply as a rationalization of their fundamentally irrational faith.
Thesis Statement: The purpose of this study is to scrutinize how Nazi propaganda aided in Hitler’s plan and how it negatively affected it. II. Background National Socialism is the name of a movement started as the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDP) by Adolf Hitler in Germany in 1919. Its name revealed its emphasis upon nationalism, socialism, Germanism and the working class. Like Benito Mussolini’s fascism, it combined an appeal to extreme and exclusive nationalism and chauvinist expansionism with a revolutionary call to the masses.
Many traits were from the beginning common to fascism and National Socialism, which may be regarded as the German form of fascism. Both proclaimed themselves the implacable enemies of liberalism and democracy, of individual rights and all movements of international co-operation and peace; both stressed the subordination of the individual to the state, the inequality of men and races, the right of the strong to rule the weak, and the necessity of the principle of blind and unswerving obedience to leaders appointed from above.
Both praised the military virtues, despised and rejected pacifism, humanitarianism and charity, glorified hatred and conquest, and aimed at the transformation of the whole nation into an armed camp and an instrument of perpetual readiness for warfare. National Socialism, however, had its peculiarly German roots. Some can be traced to the Prussian tradition as it developed under the inspiration of great soldier king such as Frederick William I and Frederick II and men of blood and iron such as Bismarck.
This tradition had always regarded the militant spirit and the discipline of the Prussian army as the model for all individual and civic life. To it was added the tradition of political romanticism with its sharp hostility to rationalism, to the principles underlying the French Revolution, to the “superficiality” of the west, and with its emphasis on instinct, on the past, even on the remote past, and its proclamation of the rights of the exceptional over all universal law and rules. Thus, the exceptional becomes a law unto himself.
These two traditions were later enforced by the 19th- century adoration of science and of the laws of nature which with their “iron logic” worked out beyond all concepts of good and evil, and by a biological theory of life which led to the acceptance of that racialism first proclaimed by the Frenchman Joseph Arthur, count de Gobineau, in his Essai gar l’inegalite des races humaines (1854 and 1884), and then propounded by Richard Wagner (1813-83), who combined it with a heroic ideal of the Nordic superman, and by his son-in-law, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, whose Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (1899) profoundly influenced early Hitlerism.
To romanticism, National Socialism owed the vague and fluid conceptions of folk as the basis of cultural and political organization, and of Weltanschauung or “total world outlook” as opposed in the same of Kultur to the more rational civilization of the west. In addition to these currents in the German tradition, it ought to be pointed out that Hitler’s formation was influenced during his youth by specific Austrian movements. National Socialism owed much to Karl Lueger (1844-1910), who organized the Catholic lower middle classes of Vienna in an anticapitalistic and anti-Semitic movement called the Christian Society party, but who remained loyal to Habsburg conservatism, and to Georg von Schonerer (1842-1921), who combined racial anti-Semitism with a violent anti-Catholicism and pan-Germanic expansionism and a bitter hostility to the Habsburgs.
Schonerer’s disciple Karl Hermann Wolf founded among the Sudeten Germans in Bohemia, a German Worker’s party which was later to assume the name of Deutsche National-Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei, a few years before Hitler founded his almost identically named NSDAP in Munich. Much in Hitler’s ferocious nationalism and his contempt of the Slavs can be explained by the experience of his youth amid the bitter nationality struggles of the multiracial Habsburg Empire. III. Discussion A. How Nazi aided Hitler’s plan and its effect After Hitler’s abortive putsch in 1923, he returned to his original plan of gaining control of the government through an alliance with the conservative, monarchist elites. They still occupied important positions in the bureaucracy and the Army of the Weimar Republic, but they lacked popular support.
Hitler offered his political backing up in return for what the conservatives understood would be no more than a role in the government for him, should the alliance, was not partial but total power for himself. Thus Nazi strategy had a dual purpose—to develop successful mass mobilization techniques and to manipulate the conservatives, by means of blackmail and bribery when that was considered efficacious. Hitler proved to be master on both counts, no more so than in January 1933 when he made a deal with the conservatives that brought him the chancellorship at the very moment when his party was losing momentum and votes. Prior to this, the army had salvaged Hitler’s paramilitary SA (Sturmabteilung, or “Storm Troopers”) after Chancellor Heinrich Bruning had dissolved it in April 1932.
The army was convinced that the SA had military potential for German rearmament. Moreover, by the early summer of 1932 the Nazis, although not a majority party, were the largest group in the German Reichstag. In the presidential elections of March-April 1932, and again in the Reichstag election of July, the Nazi secured about 37% of the popular vote, drawing away the bulk of protestant middle-class supporters from the liberal and traditionalist parties. By November 1932, the Nazi crest seemed to have passed; for in the Reichstag elections of that month, a revulsion against Nazi violence and an economic upturn reduced the National Socialist proportion pf the popular vote to 33% and its deputies from 230 to 196.
But at this point the relations that Hitler had cultivated with the reactionary circles in German politics bore fruit. In December, Chancellor Franz von Papen, unable to secure anything close to the popular or parliamentary support he needed to carry on the government, resigned in favor of the political general Kurt von Schleicher. When the latter, despite a more advanced social program, also failed to obtain any mass adherence to traditional conservatism, Von Papen negotiated an alliance with Hitler. In January 1933, President Paul von Hindenburg was persuaded to appoint Hitler to the chancellorship was persuaded to appoint Hitler to the chancellorship of a coalition Cabinet with Von Papen as Vice-Chancellor. From this point, the Nazis took over.
By utilizing the Reichstag fire (February 27, 1933), which they blamed on the Communists, they secured 44% of the popular vote in the Reichstag elections of March 1933. They then pushed through the Enabling Act, which transferred to the cabinet legislative authority and the right to suspend the constitution. This action became the “legal” basis of the National Socialist regime. The Nazi government can best be considered in terms of the changing relations between the conservative and the revolutionary elements that combined to make up National Socialism. On the other hand, the Nazis shared with the conservatives the belief in authority, hierarchy, and an aggressive foreign policy.
On the other hand, they departed from the conservatives in refusing to set any limits on either means or ends in the realization of their beliefs. For the Nazis, authority was unbounded, even by religion. Hierarchy was grounded in the unending natural struggle for survival and brooked no traditional forms. Foreign policy was to serve not calculated national interest but an infinite drive for the expansion of power. • The Nazis in Power: First Phase In the first period of their regime, which was lasted until the death of Hindenburg in August 1934, the Nazis excluded the conservatives from political partnership and established their own exclusive control.
But the main direction of their policy was the construction of a totalitarian state consistent with the antidemocratic views of their conservative allies. They preserved, furthermore, the conservatives’ economic, social, and administrative privileges. All political parties save the national Socialist were outlawed. Independent mass associations, such as labor unions, were smashed. All obstructions to the exercise of concentrated national authority, such as the self-administrative powers of German states and municipalities characteristics of the traditional German federalism, were wiped away in favor of the leadership principle in a unitary nation-state.
Organizations of the old German economic and social elite, such as business and agrarian associations, the army, and the bureaucracy, were retained after some remodeling to secure a closer integration into the administration of the Nazi state. In foreign affairs the Nazis implemented the long agitation of nationalists against the Treaty of Versailles by withdrawing Germany from the disarmament conference and the League of Nations in 1933. The blood purge of June 30, 1934, in which the more conservative wing of the party under Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler smashed the “radicals” led by Ernst Roehm through mass assassinations, solidified the co-operation of the Nazis and the traditional German elite in the execution of a common policy. • The Nazis in Power: Second Phase
During the second period of the regime, which lasted from August 1934, to the enactment of the Four Year Plan in September 1936, the Nazis secured exclusive political authority? Domestically, this meant direct party control over the masses of the German people. Such party organs as the Germans Labor Front and the Hitler Youth were developed into compulsory institutions, and the party police (SS) was amalgamated with the German police administration. A fanatical policy of radical anti-Semitism was embodied in the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, which divested German Jews of their political and civil rights. These measures implemented the Nazi program for a totalitarian state and tended to merge state and party in the authoritarian control of German society.
In the field of foreign affairs, to which the Nazis devoted increasing attention, the distinctive revolutionary component of National Socialism began to make itself felt. The official resumption of military conscription and of naval construction in 1935 was in line with traditional nationalism. However, the remilitarization of the Rhineland in March 1936, in defiance of the 1925 Locarno treaties and against the counsel of the army, initiated an adventurous policy that increasingly separated the party drive for expansion from traditional ideas of the national interest. Party interference with the customary role of the Foreign Office also became more obvious.
• The Nazis in Power: Third Phase In the third period of Nazi rule, which covered the spectacular diplomatic and military successes from late 1936 to late 1942, the National Socialist developed their revolutionary policies in both foreign and domestic affairs. The Rome-Berlin Axis and the Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan in 1936 provided its theoretical justification. Thus armed, the Nazis embarked Germany on a career of territorial expansion that brought the annexation of Austria, Czechoslovakia, western Poland, and Alsace-Lorraine and the occupation of all Continental Europe (except Spain, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland) from the Atlantic to the Volga.
Internally, the party assumed direct leadership pf all organs needed to execute these policies. Hitler abolished the Ministry of War and made himself commander in chief of the armed forces. Joachim von Ribbentrop replaced Konstantin von Neurath as Foreign Minister. Hermann Goering, as head of the Four Year Plan Office and later chairman of the national Defense Council, directed economic mobilization for war, pushing the conservative Hjalmar Schacht out of the Economics Ministry and the Reichsbank. C. Nazi Collapsed In the final phase of the regime, which covered two years of successive defeats until its disintegration in May, 1945, the Nazis sought to identify the nation entirely with the party.
To the die0hards who now ruled—Hitler, martin Bormann, Joseph Goebbels, and Himmler—the end of national socialism meant the end of ditch resistance, with all the destruction it involved, and they took over the civil and military administration of the country, substituting wherever possible new organs dependent on the party. This was particularly true after the attempted army coup d etat of July 20, 1944, which signalized the increasing awareness by conservatives of a national interest contrary to party interest. The armed SS became a rival to the regular army; the party district (Gau) became the standard administrative unit; Hitler’s personal favorite, the technocrat Albert Speer, developed a whole new series of agencies for economic control.
But the facts of war dictated an ironical situation: as the regime approached its pure Nazi form it was deprived of a country to govern until it was finally limited to the area around the Berlin air-raid shelter in which Hitler sought to transfer power to a milder Nazi government, with Adm. Karl Doenitz as President and Goebbels as Chancellor. A Doenitz government, occupying a small area in northwest Germany and composed in the main of conservative Nazis, did claim authority in early may, 1945, but it was not recognized and was quickly overrun by British troops. The Allied military government which assumed sovereign power over Germany on June 5 formally ended the Nazi regime and outlawed the party and all its organizations. The actual as opposed to the legal status of National Socialism in Germany since the war has been the subject of dispute among observers.
There has bee little sign of an underground movement and the political party most sympathetic to it —the Reich party—has been unable to secure even the 5% of the popular vote needed for a seat in the federal parliament of West Germany. Yet the denazification program initiated by the Allied military government and turned over the German authorities in 1946 left many former Nazis in important administrative and economic posts, and sporadic anti-Semitic outbreaks indicate the possible persistence of Nazi sentiment in the new Germany. It is generally agreed that only a crisis, economic or military, will reveal whether Nazism is still a living movement. IV. Conclusion
In conclusion, National Socialism is a political party led by Adolf Hitler that ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945. Its members were called Nazis. It was founded as the German Workers’ party in 1918, and “National Socialist” was added to the name in 1920. The swastika, an ancient art motif, was adopted as the official party symbol. The Nazi movement paralleled the Fascist wave in Italy. Both parties were intensely nationalistic and contemptuous of democracy. The Nazis, however, put greater stress on racial theories. They called the Germans “the master race” and considered other peoples inferior. The Jews were their special object of hatred. An unsuccessful revolt by Hitler in 1923 damaged the Nazi movement for years.
By 1932, however, it had become the largest party in Germany. After Hitler became chancellor in 1933, other parties dissolved themselves or were suppressed. Reference: Bullock, Alan. Hitler: A Study in Tyranny. London: Penguin Books Ltd. , 2002. Originally published in 2000. Crew, David F. , ed. Nazism and German Society, 1933-1945. London: Routledge, 2004. Davidson, Eugene. The Making of Adolf Hitler: The Birth and Rise of Nazism. Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 2001. Fischer, Conan. The Rise of the Nazis. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2005. Grunberger, Richard. A Social History of the Third Reich. London: Penguin Books Ltd. , 2001.
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