Advertisement

Introduction: ‘Totalitarianism’, Propaganda, War and the Third Reich

  • Aristotle A. Kallis

Abstract

What exactly is propaganda? Nowadays, the word is usually associated with deception, lies and manipulation. And yet, propaganda did not always have such a clearly negative meaning. In the first decades of the twentieth century, it was deployed generically to indicate a systematic process of information management geared to promoting a particular goal and to guaranteeing a popular response as desired by the propagandist. As such, propaganda remains a sub-genus of mass communication and persuasion, developed in the context of modernity to deal with two parallel developments: on the one hand, the increasing expansion and sophistication of the ‘public sphere’ with its ever-growing thirst for information and opinion-forming; on the other hand, the exponential proliferation of available information, making it very difficult for the individual to identify, absorb and analyse the material. As one of the leading theorists of propaganda and communication, Jacques Ellul, noted,

[i]t is the emergence of mass media which makes possible the use of propaganda techniques on a societal scale. The orchestration of press, radio and television to create a continuous, lasting and total environment renders the influence of propaganda virtually unnoticed precisely because it creates a constant environment. Mass media provides the essential link between the individual and the demands of the technological society.1

Keywords

Public Sphere Radio Broadcast Vague Objective Societal Integration Negative Integration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    J Ellul, The Technological Society (New York: Vintage Books, 1964), 21–2Google Scholar
  2. cf. J Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes (New York: Knopf, 1971).Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    J Wright, Terrorist Propaganda (New York: St Martin’s, 1990), 70–1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. D McQuail, Mass Communication Theory: An Introduction (London/Beverly Hills/New Delhi: Sage, 2003, 4th ed.), 99 ffGoogle Scholar
  5. K Robins, F Webster, M Pickering, ‘Propaganda, information and social control’, in J Hawthorn (ed.), Propaganda, Persuasion and Polemic (London: Edward Arnold, 1987, 2nd ed.), 2–4.Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    B Ginsberg, The Captive Public. How Mass Opinion Promotes State Power (New York: Basoc Books, 1986)Google Scholar
  7. W Kornhauser, ‘Mass society’, International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (New York: Macmillan, 1968)Google Scholar
  8. W Kornhauser, The Politics of Mass Society (New York: Free Press, 1959); McQuail, Mass Communication Theory, 91–2.Google Scholar
  9. 4.
    BA, NS 18/349, 39–40 (Tiessler, Vorlage: Filme Beurteilung, no date); 347, 39 (Party Chancellery, Report from Magdeburg-Anhalt, 9.12.1941). See in general, J A C Brown, Techniques of Persuasion. From Propaganda to Brainwashing (Baltimore: Penguin, 1963), 308 ff.Google Scholar
  10. 5.
    L W Doob, Public Opinion and Propaganda (New York: Henry Holt and Co, 1948), 131–9; G S Jowett, V O’Donnell, Propaganda and Persuasion (Newbury Park/London/New Delhi: Sage, 1992), 15–16.Google Scholar
  11. G S Jowett, V O’Donnell, Propaganda and Persuasion (Newbury Park/London/New Delhi: Sage, 1992), 15–16.Google Scholar
  12. 7.
    H C Triandis, Interpersonal Behavior (Monterey: Brooks/Cole, 1977), ch. 3; Ellul, Propaganda, 35–7.Google Scholar
  13. 9.
    Jowett and O’Donnell, Propaganda and Persuasion, 122–54; D J Bern, Beliefs, Attitudes and Human Affairs (Belmont: Brooks/Cole, 1970).Google Scholar
  14. 10.
    See, for example, J Goebbels, ‘Stimmung und Haltung’, Das Reich, 4.11.1943.Google Scholar
  15. 11.
    Cf. I Kershaw, ‘How effective was Nazi propaganda?’, in D Welch (ed.), Nazi Propaganda: The Power and the Limitations (London: Croom Helm, 1983), 180–205.Google Scholar
  16. 12.
    I Ajzen, M Fishbein, Understanding Attitudes and Predicting Social Behavior (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1980).Google Scholar
  17. 13.
    C I Hovland, I L Janis, H H Kelly, Communication and Persuasion. Psychological Studies of Opinion Change (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1953)Google Scholar
  18. R J Boster, P Mongeau, ‘Fear-arousing persuasive messages’, in R N Bostrum and N H Westley (eds), Communication Yearbook 8 (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1984), 330–75.Google Scholar
  19. 15.
    R E Herzstein, The War that Hitler Won: Goebbels and the Nazi Media Campaign (New York: Paragon, 1987).Google Scholar
  20. 16.
    D Lerner, ‘Effective propaganda: conditions and evaluation’, in D Lerner (ed.), Propaganda in War and Crisis. Materials for American Policy (New York: Stewart, 1951), 344–54.Google Scholar
  21. 17.
    M Balfour, Propaganda in War 1939–1945: Organisation, Policies and Publics in Britain and Germany (London: Routledge, 1979).Google Scholar
  22. 18.
    D Roberts, The Poverty of Great Politics. Understanding the Totalitarian Moment (London: Routledge, 2006).Google Scholar
  23. 19.
    C J Friedrich, Z K Brzezinski, Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy (New York/Washington/London: Praeger, 1965), 21–6.Google Scholar
  24. 20.
    On the similarities and differences in the use of propaganda between ‘totalitarian’ and ‘democratic’ states see T H Qualter, Opinion Control in the Democracies (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1985); Jowett and O’Donnell, Propaganda and Persuasion, 25–7; Robins, Webster and Pickering, Propaganda, Persuasion and Polemic, 6–7, 14 ff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 21.
    For a discussion of this see I Kershaw, The Nazi Dictatorship. Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation (London: Edward Arnold, 1995, 4th ed.), ch. 4; P Diehl-Thiele, Partei und Staat im Dritten Reich. Untersuchung zum Verhältnis von NSDAP und allgemeiner innerer Staatsverwaltung, 1933–1945 (Munich: CH Beck Verlag, 1971), ch. 2.Google Scholar
  26. P Diehl-Thiele, Partei und Staat im Dritten Reich. Untersuchung zum Verhältnis von NSDAP und allgemeiner innerer Staatsverwaltung, 1933–1945 (Munich: CH Beck Verlag, 1971), ch. 2.Google Scholar
  27. 22.
    K Lang, ‘Communication research: origins and developments’, in G Gerbner, W Schramm, T L Worth, and L Gross (eds), International Encyclopedia of Communications (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 469–74.Google Scholar
  28. 23.
    D Marvick (ed.), Harold D Lasswell on Political Sociology (Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press, 1977), ch. 10.Google Scholar
  29. 24.
    R Semmler, Goebbels: The Man Next to Hitler (London: Westhouse, 1947), 3.3.1943, 72–3.Google Scholar
  30. 25.
    E K Bramsted, Goebbels and National Socialist Propaganda 1925–1945 (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1965), 253.Google Scholar
  31. 30.
    Robins, Webster and Pickering, Propaganda, Persuasion and Polemic, 5 ff; B Taithe, T Thornton, ‘Propaganda: a misnomer of rhetoric and persuasion?’, in B Taithe, T Thornton (eds), Propaganda. Political Rhetoric and Identity, 1300–2000 (Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 1999), 1–24.Google Scholar
  32. 33.
    For example, I Kershaw, Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third Reich: Bavaria, 1933–45 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1983)Google Scholar
  33. I Kershaw, The Hitler-Myth. Image and Reality in the Third Reich (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 1989)Google Scholar
  34. M G Steinert, Hitler’s War and the Germans: Public Mood and Attitude During the Second World War (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1977).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Aristotle A. Kallis 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aristotle A. Kallis

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations