Baylor College Medical School

55 1. Hitler's Propaganda Machine

55 1. (Feb. 29) Our propaganda is working at high pressure. The clerical work is finished. Now the technical side of the fight begins. What enormous preparations are necessary to organize such a bast distribution!

Reported to the Leader (Hitler) at noon. I gave him details as to the measures we are taking. The election campaign is chiefly to be fought by means of placards and addresses (speeches)....Fifty thousand gramophone records have been made, which are so small they can be slipped into an ordinary envelope. The supporters of the Government will be astonished when they place these miniature records on the gramophone!

In Berlin everything is going well. A film (of me) is being made....It is to be shown in all public gardens and squares in the larger cities....

(March 18) A critical innovation: the Leader will conduct this next campaign by plane. By this means he will be able to speak three or four times a day at various places...and address about one and a half million of people in spite of the time being so short.

From Berlin Diary by William L. Shirer

I'm beginning to comprehend, I think, some of the reasons for Hitler's astounding success....he is restoring pageantry and color and mysticism to the drab lives of twentieth-century Germans. This morning's opening meeting...was more than a gorgeous show....The hall was a sea of brightly colored flags. Even Hitler's arrival was made dramatic. The band stopped playing...Hitler appeared in the back of the auditorium, and followed by his aides,....he strode slowly down the long center aisle while 30,000 hands were raised in salute. It is a ritual, the old-timers say, which is always followed. Then an immense symphony orchestra played Beethoven's Egmont Overture. Great klieg lights played on the stage....

In such an atmosphere no wonder, then, that every word dropped by Hitler seemed like an inspired Word from on high. Man's-or at least the German's -critical faculty is swept away at such moments, and every lie pronounced is accepted as high truth itself.


1. How did the Nazis use what was then new technology?

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They used gramophones and records. They also used airplanes to shuttle Hitler around to do his speeches.