Is religion a form of government propaganda

Radio and television in the Nazi era (part 1)

January 30, 1933, the day he came to power - Adolf Hitler has achieved his preliminary goal: Reich President Paul von Hindenburg appoints him Chancellor. On the same evening the radio stations broadcast the torchlight procession in honor of the "Führer". The next day, Hitler gave his first radio address. For him it is clear: "The radio is a main means of public education and propaganda."

Until the Reichstag election on March 5, 1933, 45 election programs of the governing parties were broadcast. Other parties are not allowed to use the microphones. "We started on the radio with a fantastic wave of political influence, agitation and propaganda in every form," writes Reichsendleiter Eugen Hadamovsky later. Speeches by Hitler go on the broadcasters almost every evening. Together with the German Nationals, the NSDAP achieved an absolute majority in the election.

In the Weimar Republic, radio was under state influence

Radio began broadcasting regularly ten years earlier. During the Weimar Republic, the new mass medium was "made into a state broadcaster within a few years", as journalism professor Jan Tonnemacher writes in his book "Communication Policy in Germany". In 1926 "guidelines on the regulation of broadcasting" are issued: The program is controlled by the interior minister and the state governments, the Ministry of Post is responsible for the technology. There are private-sector stakes in the regionally built broadcasting corporations, but the majority rests with the Reich and the federal states. The state also has a majority in the Reichsrundfunkgesellschaft founded in 1925, the umbrella organization of the broadcasters. After the "broadcast reform" of 1932, "broadcast commissioners" also monitor the program. Emergency ordinances are increasing the influence of the state. According to Tonnemacher, the Nazis in 1933 had a "well-prepared medium" at their disposal.

"Making the new attitude heard"

The brown rulers lose no time: about a week after the NSDAP's election victory, the new "Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda" is created and Joseph Goebbels is appointed head. According to Hitler's will, the ministry is "responsible for all tasks of intellectual influence on the nation". A separate department is set up for broadcasting. "The central concern of the National Socialist broadcasting policy was to develop broadcasting into the most important propaganda instrument," writes Heinz-Werner Stuiber, professor of communication studies, in his book "Medien in Deutschland". On March 25, 1933, Goebbels explained to the radio director how this could be achieved: "The imagination must use all means and methods to make the new attitude modern, up-to-date and interesting to the broad masses, interesting and instructive but not instructive ".

Synchronization of the regional broadcasters

The mass medium should - like all areas of life - be organized according to the so-called leader principle. The centralization required for this is done by "synchronization". Regarding the new structure of the radio, Hitler announced in a circular on July 15, 1933 that the Reich had to "have unlimited power not only over the public radio network, but also over the Reichsrundfunkgesellschaft and the broadcasting companies." Accordingly, the regional companies will be dissolved as an independent corporation. Reichssendeleiter Hadamovsky announced that on April 1, 1934, the designation "Reichssender" would be introduced for all broadcasters. The national revolution now finds its fulfillment in the trinity "one people, one empire, one radio".

Personal "cleansing" as a "cleansing act"

The organizational synchronization of broadcasting is supplemented by personal "cleanups". Jewish, social democratic and communist employees are fired. On March 25, 1933, Goebbels asked the directors of the radio stations to carry out this "cleaning act" themselves: "But if you don't do that or if you don't want to, we will do it." Three months later, the artistic directors are all dismissed, except for one who joins the NSDAP. Only journalists who are members of the "Reichsrundfunkkammer" - a department of the "Reichskulturkammer" - are allowed to work on the radio. Only those who meet Goebbels' criteria are accepted.

"People's Receiver" and "Community Reception"

In order to be able to use radio propaganda across the board, the Nazis are expanding the transmission and reception options. In 1933 the inexpensive "Volksempfänger" is brought onto the market, which is called "Goebbelsschnauze" behind closed doors. In the opinion of Reichssendeleiter Hadamovsky, "there must not be a national comrade who does not have a radio". As a further means of influencing, the "community reception" is ordered in the company and in offices. "At the same time, for example, almost 90 percent of the population witnessed Hitler speeches together on the radio," writes Stuiber in his book "Medien in Deutschland".

The Nazis try to tie the listeners to the Reich broadcasters with a cheerful program. "They wanted to offer distraction and relaxation, but at the same time arouse awareness for their own propaganda," said the historian Prof. Konrad Dussel in his book "Deutsche Rundfunkgeschichte". The radio program is put together in the Ministry of Propaganda. Goebbels decides on a daily basis which information should be disseminated in which formulations.

In the second part: The importance of television in the "Third Reich". The radio program during the Second World War.