How Did the Nazis Use Language to Shape Public Opinion?
And it would still continue until people felt the information was false or the Nazis wouldn’t still be railing against it. By repeatedly hammering words, phrases and ideas into a citizen’s thinking and by making it part of the culture, the propaganda becomes part of the language. Then no one stops to question the ideas and from where they originate.
Writing in 1939, journalist Sebastian Haffner described these demonstrations and recalled the effect they had on many Germans.Goebbels and his ministry also set out to coordinate every form of expression in Germany—from music to radio programs to textbooks, artwork, newspapers, and even sermons—crafting language and imagery carefully to praise Nazi policies and Hitler himself, and to demonize those the Nazis considered enemies. While the ministry’s work included censoring much German art and media, the Nazis also created an environment in which many artists, newspaper editors, and filmmakers censored themselves in order to gain favor with the regime, avoid punishment, or escape the Nazis’ attention altogether (Robert Gellately, 2001).
These carefully-crafted messages were designed to mobilize the German population to support all Nazi military and social efforts, including the deportation of Jews and others to concentration camps.
Robert Gellately, Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), vii.
Richard J. Evans, The Third Reich in Power (New York: Penguin, 2005), 121.
Doris Bergen to Facing History and Ourselves, comment on draft manuscript, December 23, 2015.
Victor Klemperer, The Language of the Third Reich, trans. Martin Brady (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), 29–31.