“If the day should ever come when we must go, if some day we are compelled to leave the scene of history, we will slam the door so hard that the universe will shake and mankind will stand back in stupefaction.”
– Josef Goebbels, regarding Germany’s influence over World War II
The period of time which took place just before the midpoint of the 20th century, otherwise known as the Second World War, is truly a page of History that is like no other. Not only does a second global conflict emerge on the world’s stage less than 30 years following the closing of the first (with a substantially higher number of participants this time around), a sociological phenomenon occurs during this time never before witnessed throughout the history of Man. A phenomenon of societal brainwashing so far reaching, an entire nation falls prey to its hypnotic hold. A group mindset so delusional, reality becomes thoroughly warped due to life being seen through a lens distorted by a poisonous filter tainted by the merging of evil with lies.
What makes World War II such a unique period of History unto itself is due to, in part, the emergence of a powerful political force known as the “Nationalsozialismus” Party, or “Nazi” Party for short.
Evil, in and of itself, is never widespread. It always needs assistance to convince the doubtful and dominate the weak. This darkest of forces could not become a widespread ideology embraced by an entire people if it were based strictly on the hateful viewpoints of one mere individual unto himself. Nazism took hold due to a synchronicity of events unfolding at a particular time along with key individuals realizing those around them would be receptive to the evil they harbored from within.
This dark page of human history sprang forth from the outermost cracks of Germany‘s societal sidewalk due to the collective seeds of bitterness and resentment spreading like the most wicked of weeds in the years following Deutschland’s humiliating defeat at the close of the First World War. Over the course of the 1920’s, the feelings of bitter resentment experienced by the majority of Germans left without work or money would putrify into a collective aura of hate filled rage. This, in turn would find an outlet in which to take shape by eventually materializing into a small group of unemployed thugs with some seriously violent tendencies who called themselves Nazis.
The National Socialists knew that in order to become a formidable force of political power, insidious tactics were needed to instill fearful obedience by promoting blind allegiance. Plus, this process needed to be done in a way in which every strata of German society could relate to and fully embrace.
Enter Nazi Propaganda.
Propaganda (noun) – information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.
The word comes from the neo-Latin and refers to “propagating the faith“.
The man the Nazis chose to propagate their evil faith as the Party’s Minister of Propaganda was a physically deformed, rejected novelist and playwright who was driven by an intense hatred of anything different than himself – a Scorpio named Josef Goebbels.
In no uncertain terms, Josef Goebbels was a PR and marketing genius who used propaganda to brainwash an entire nation into accepting his mindset of evil through both conscious and subconscious means. Standing barely over 5 feet tall and disabled by a clubbed foot that isolated him from birth, the dark haired, dour faced man deluded his people into thinking that not only were they a master race of humans that were superior above all others, but that he and his family were the perfect prototypes by which to model themselves by.
An intellectual who specialized in Philosophy with a doctorate in 19th century Romantic Literature, Josef Goebbels made full use of the most modern of media techniques available at the time to play upon society’s oldest fears. However, upon Adolf Hitler’s initial ascent to Germany’s top political position as Chancellor in 1933, the Propaganda Minister’s first public event of mass media mirrored Man’s darker moments from a much, much earlier time – Book Burnings.
The best way to unite a group of downtrodden people faced with little opportunity and grim prospects for the future? Establish an “Us versus Them” mentality. When the Nazis first took hold of the German government in 1933, the Propaganda Minister quickly went to work by conjuring up an atmosphere that would both unify and isolate. Knowing that a goodly portion of fear is based in the unknown, Josef Goebbels united the German people by giving their fears both a face and a name – “Jewish Intellectualism“.
Goebbels sculpted his country’s societal fears into physical form by creating a foreign based monster that was preparing to soon attack and eventually dominate. The Propaganda Minister gravely warned that this ever approaching threat of foreign influence planned to initially infiltrate German society through their thoughts and words in printed form. To ensure the future of his mass mindset of evil, the intellectual with a PhD turned to the distant past in order to create an environment of anti-intellectual hysteria through the visually effective act of book burning.
Just as in the Middle Ages when the writings of Dante and Boccaccio were set aflame by intellectually fearful town elders, Goebbels orchestrated Book Burnings across Germany in May and June of 1933 and broadcasted the fear mongering gatherings live over the radio.
These visually memorable public events fueled the people’s fear of the unknown by having the burnt books represent the magic makings of foreigners who were determined to destroy Germany by seducing its citizens into succumbing to their beliefs. Book burning deluded people into thinking they were taking the first steps needed in putting an end to Jewish intellectualism and preserving the “purification of the German language“. Works considered to be “morally perverse” and “anti-Nazi” included not only German intellectuals such as Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud, but non-German literary figures such as D.H. Lawrence and James Joyce were banned as well.
From the medieval sense of unified fear and hatred brought about by the irrational act of burning books, Josef Goebbels then turned to the most modern resources available to promote his insidious Nazi propaganda – Radio and Film.
Sensing the far reaching potential and effectiveness within the new medium of radio in 1933, Goebbels oversaw the design and distribution of the “Volksempfanger“ or “People’s Receiver“. These cheaply made, low power radios were created in large quantities to be both affordable and accessible, so that even the poorest German could hear the latest Propaganda reports. Each radio’s low level of power was strong enough to tune in to local Nazi broadcasts, but too weak to receive any information that wasn’t glowingly pro-Nazi over the radar waves, such as the BBC.
With the German people properly prepared to accept Nazi doctrine by fearing anything considered foreign or intellectual towards the end of the 1930’s, the Minister of Propaganda was ready to assist the Fuhrer in transforming Germany into a living embodiment of their idealized fantasy of a “Third Reich”. Herr Goebbels would be leading the way in fueling the fantasy by promoting himself as a role model Nazi. But the Scorpio wouldn’t be nearly as effective projecting this false image on his own, the master of propaganda sought a partner and who better than another Scorpio to make their twisted dream seem like the truest of realities.
Part II introduces us to the Minister’s significant other who deluded herself into thoroughly believing all the lies even more than her propaganda making husband who created them – fellow Scorpio, Magda Goebbels.
*Brad Kronen’s book “Love in the Stars” published by Llewellyn Worldwide, Inc. is available for purchase at your local book seller or online at amazon.com at the link listed below.