Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
Overview
 
The Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda (German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

: Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda or Propagandaministerium) was Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

's ministry
Ministry (government department)
A ministry is a specialised organisation responsible for a sector of government public administration, sometimes led by a minister or a senior public servant, that can have responsibility for one or more departments, agencies, bureaus, commissions or other smaller executive, advisory, managerial or...

 that enforced Nazi Party ideology
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 in Germany and regulated its culture and society. Founded on March 13, 1933, by Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's new National Socialist government, the Ministry was headed by Dr. Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

 and was responsible for controlling the press and culture of Nazi Germany.

The Ministry was based in the Ordenspalais
Ordenspalais
The Ordenspalais was a building on the northern corner of Wilhelmplatz with Wilhelmstraße in Berlin ....

 in Berlin-Mitte on the Wilhelmplatz
Wilhelmplatz
Wilhelmplatz is a former square in the Mitte district of Berlin, Germany at the corner of Wilhelmstrasse and Voßstraße. The square also gave its name to a Berlin U-Bahn station which has since been renamed Mohrenstraße...

 across from the Reich Chancellery
Reich Chancellery
The Reich Chancellery was the traditional name of the office of the Chancellor of Germany in the period of the German Reich from 1871 to 1945...

.
When the Nazis took power the Propaganda Ministry was established almost immediately.
Encyclopedia
The Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda (German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

: Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda or Propagandaministerium) was Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

's ministry
Ministry (government department)
A ministry is a specialised organisation responsible for a sector of government public administration, sometimes led by a minister or a senior public servant, that can have responsibility for one or more departments, agencies, bureaus, commissions or other smaller executive, advisory, managerial or...

 that enforced Nazi Party ideology
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 in Germany and regulated its culture and society. Founded on March 13, 1933, by Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's new National Socialist government, the Ministry was headed by Dr. Joseph Goebbels
Joseph Goebbels
Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

 and was responsible for controlling the press and culture of Nazi Germany.

The Ministry was based in the Ordenspalais
Ordenspalais
The Ordenspalais was a building on the northern corner of Wilhelmplatz with Wilhelmstraße in Berlin ....

 in Berlin-Mitte on the Wilhelmplatz
Wilhelmplatz
Wilhelmplatz is a former square in the Mitte district of Berlin, Germany at the corner of Wilhelmstrasse and Voßstraße. The square also gave its name to a Berlin U-Bahn station which has since been renamed Mohrenstraße...

 across from the Reich Chancellery
Reich Chancellery
The Reich Chancellery was the traditional name of the office of the Chancellor of Germany in the period of the German Reich from 1871 to 1945...

.

Role in the Nazi state

When the Nazis took power the Propaganda Ministry was established almost immediately. It was charged with enforcing Nazi doctrine on the people and controlling public opinion. However, the Ministry became even more important after the outbreak of war.

World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 was conducted with a much greater level of propaganda than World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, especially in the new media of film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

 and radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

. Because of practical experience and scientific occupation with propaganda in Europe and USA, propaganda was organised in a planned fashion. A new psychological warfare
Psychological warfare
Psychological warfare , or the basic aspects of modern psychological operations , have been known by many other names or terms, including Psy Ops, Political Warfare, “Hearts and Minds,” and Propaganda...

 was born.

Organization

The Ministry grew steadily. It began in 1933 with five departments and 350 employees. By 1939, there were 2000 employees in 17 departments. Between 1933 and 1941, the Ministry's budget grew from 14 million to 187 million Reichsmarks. Three state secretaries were subordinate to Joseph Goebbels:
  • State Secretary I – Walther Funk
    Walther Funk
    Walther Funk was a prominent Nazi official. He served as Reich Minister for Economic Affairs in Nazi Germany from 1937 to 1945, tried as a major war criminal by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg.-Early life:...

     (1933 – 1937), Otto Dietrich
    Otto Dietrich
    Dr. Otto Dietrich was an SS-Obergruppenführer, the Third Reich's Press Chief, and a confidant of Adolf Hitler.-Biography:...

     (1937 – 1945)
    • The German press
    • The foreign press
    • Newspapers

  • State Secretary II – Karl Hanke
    Karl Hanke
    Karl August Hanke was an official of the National Socialist German Workers Party . He served as governor of Lower Silesia from 1941 to 1945 and as the final Reichsführer-SS for a few days in 1945.- Early life :Hanke was born in Lauban in Silesia, on 24 August 1903, the son of a locomotive...

     (1937 – 1940), Leopold Gutterer (1940 – 1944), Werner Naumann
    Werner Naumann
    Werner Naumann was a State Secretary in Joseph Goebbels' Propagandaministerium during the Third Reich. He was appointed head of the Propaganda Ministry by Führer Adolf Hitler in his political testament after Dr. Goebbels was promoted to Reichskanzler.-Early life and political career:Naumann was...

     (1944 – 1945)
    • Budget
    • Law
    • Propaganda
    • Radio
    • Film
    • Personal
    • Defence
    • International
    • Theater
    • Music
    • Literature
    • Visual Arts

  • State Secretary III – Hermann Esser
    Hermann Esser
    Hermann Esser entered the Nazi party with Adolf Hitler in 1920, became the editor of the Nazi paper, Völkischer Beobachter, and a Nazi member of the Reichstag. In the early history of the party, he was Hitler's de facto deputy.Esser was born in Röhrmoos, Kingdom of Bavaria...

     (1935 – 1945)
    • Tourism

Propaganda

The Propaganda Ministry used many media to further the National Socialist message and maintain control over the people. Posters, newspapers, publishing, and the arts were all used and explicitly controlled by the Ministry.

Speeches were also used to great effect by the German Government. Goebbels commented on Hitler's first speech as Chancellor: "It will have great propaganda value...be used and viewed in cinemas for years to come...what an achievement." Just before Hitler delivered this speech Goebbels introduced him and used the opportunity to highlight the importance of propaganda. "It seems you cannot have a good government without good propaganda, but then, you can't have good propaganda without a good government. However, you cannot lie! We must never lie! It is the Jews who must be made to pay for their lies to our people!” However, perhaps the most iconic speech of the whole second World War was also a product of the German Propaganda Ministry. Dr. Goebbels’ Sportpalast speech
Sportpalast speech
The Sportpalast or total war speech was a speech delivered by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels at the Berlin Sportpalast to a large but carefully selected audience on 18 February 1943 calling for a total war, as the tide of World War II had turned against Nazi Germany and its Axis allies.It is...

 which was delivered after the German defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia. The battle took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943...

 was intended to build popular support for "total war." Hitler did make speeches over the radio but his speeches in person (i.e., the Nuremberg Rallies) were more effective uses of his oratorical skills.

"I consider radio to be the most modern and the most crucial instrument for influencing the masses.." was a famous and important quote from Goebbels. Radio was undoubtedly exploited to its full potential by the Nazis. Radio manufacturers received grants from the government to build cheaper receivers; these sets were manufactured so that they could not pick up foreign, non-Nazi broadcasts. In addition, criminal penalties were set in place for listening to non-German radio stations; by the height of World War II, persons in Nazi Germany or in lands under Nazi occupation could be executed for this act.

See also

  • Nazi propaganda
    Nazi propaganda
    Propaganda, the coordinated attempt to influence public opinion through the use of media, was skillfully used by the NSDAP in the years leading up to and during Adolf Hitler's leadership of Germany...

  • Joseph Goebbels
    Joseph Goebbels
    Paul Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. As one of Adolf Hitler's closest associates and most devout followers, he was known for his zealous oratory and anti-Semitism...

  • Hans Fritzsche
    Hans Fritzsche
    Hans Georg Fritzsche was a senior German Nazi official, ending the war as Ministerialdirektor at the Propagandaministerium.- Career :...

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