via Josef Goebbels
Propaganda in cities differs in many ways from that in the countryside. The
major reason is the entirely different life style of big-city dwellers.
They are politically more sophisticated and have an entirely different
attitude towards things.
The following observations focus on large cities, not on the countryside.
However, the essentials of propaganda are largely similar.
The face of the city, as a center of production and consumption, is marked
by advertising. The concentration of many companies leads to intense
competition, which is won not necessarily by the firm with the best
product, rather with the best advertising. Poster pillars, newspapers,
billboards and so on hammer incessantly on the victim, until finally he
bends to the power of the advertising firm and buys.
This out-and-out commercial advertising is aimed exclusively at earning
money, and appeals only to the billfold. But the most effective advertising
is not necessarily for the best product.
Political propaganda is something entirely different. It uses indeed in
part the same methods to reach its goals, but rests on entirely different
assumptions. Propaganda is by no means simply commercial advertising
applied to the political, or spiritual arena. They seek only momentary
effect, whereas political propaganda seeks the systematic enlightenment
necessary to win supporters to a worldview. We recall the many comrades who
gave their life for the movement. They were propagandists of the deed up to
the last breath.
The Organization of the party must be such that it is able to make good use
of the citizens who have been won for the movement.
The Organization of Propaganda
The recognition that only a unified propaganda apparatus has the likelihood
of success led the Party Headquarters and several regional offices
(Gauleitungen) to create central propaganda offices. Where that has not yet
happened, immediate steps should be taken.
The task of these propaganda centrals is to study advertising methods and
see how we can use them, which requires above all a well-organized
To this end each local group must train propaganda wardens, who will lead
the entire local propaganda effort and are responsible for its flawless
execution in their area. These propaganda wardens, subordinate to the local
and section offices, work closely with the cell leaders and cell officers,
as well as with the S.A. It is often a good idea for the propaganda warden
to train others in his section or local group to help him with his duties.
Of course, each party member should help out with propaganda. To be a
member is to be obligated to serve. The S.A. is also obliged to be ready to
serve at any time, regardless of the weather.
Regular party members should be grouped in units to carry out
A special group, skilled in hanging posters, should not be lacking.
The Gau offices provide sections and local groups with guidelines for
propaganda. These guidelines should be on paper, and are finding for all
sections and local groups. In propaganda department meetings, questions and
advice for propaganda wardens will be discussed. Regular meetings of the
propaganda wardens discuss current questions of propaganda. Special
educational courses provide propaganda wardens with the proper skills. To
support what they hear, special notebooks are produced.
The entire collection of propaganda material should generally be produced
by the Reich or the Gau propaganda offices. Economics of scale save
Although the sections and local groups generally enjoy considerable
flexibility, at particular times (e.g., during major campaigns, elections,
etc.) they must follow precisely the plans of the propaganda central.
The press office is a branch of the propaganda department. It should
receive clippings of all reports of attacks, meeting disturbances, marches
and so on from both our own and the enemy press.
The Methods of Propaganda
To carry out propaganda effectively in the cities, it is necessary to
understand the proper use of the most important methods of propaganda. It
is above all essential that the propaganda warden does not follow advice
coming from a desktop, rather that he is and remains in close contact with
the people. Only he who understands everyday life, and who is familiar with
events in political life, will be able to speak effectively to the people
he wishes to persuade. Without that contact, advertising speaks in a dead
language. To see with the eyes of the masses–that is the whole secret of
There are four kinds of propaganda:
Propaganda through the written word,
Propaganda through the spoken word,
Propaganda through mass marches,
Propaganda through cultural gatherings.
1. Propaganda through the spoken word: flyers, leaflets, party newspapers
and books, advertising circulars, apartment newspapers and factory papers,
posters, stamps, other newspapers, N.S. stamps and postcards, banners and
billboards, slides and films. Remember that it is against the law to use
walls, building facades, street surfaces and so on. The following
observations apply only to permitted forms of propaganda.
a) Not much needs to be said about the effectiveness of stickers. Their
task is to be a constant reminder to the indifferent and to gradually
unsettle them. Stickers in the wrong places are usually placed by the enemy
to discredit us.
Identical stickers next to each other make a good effect. “Many drops wear
away stone” applies here. Incessantly, repeatedly, people must see our
How should they look? They should be small enough so the person applying
them will have enough saliva. They should be brief (few, but vivid words).
The layout should be good, with no white space at the edges where graffiti
can be written. Each party member should carry such stickers with him. One
can apply them quickly and inconspicuously.
b) The flyer, with a few sentences, which is distributed on the street, has
lost its effectiveness. It is soon thrown away, and its content, mostly
only an announcement of a meeting, is hardly noticed.
Successful small leaflets (30 by 60 mm) that carry texts like this:
“National Socialists buy only in German shops. The middle class paper: the
These small leaflets can be left in shops.
Another promising innovation is flyers with caricatures. A timely sketch by
our Mjölnir [a Nazi cartoonist] with an appropriate caption is effective.
Good pictures are also effective (e.g., illustrations from the Angriff or
from the pamphlet “Those Damned Nazis”).
Flyers in various colors, but with identical slogans, some with
caricatures, spread through entire city districts are effective. For example:
· Against Marxism and Reaction–the National Socialists!
· For Freedom and Bread–the National Socialists!
· Your greeting: Heil Hitler!
· Down with the party corpses! Power to the National Socialists!
· Become a National Socialist, all else is shit. The NSDAP has the
welfare of the city in mind.
The slogans can be ordered from the propaganda department.
All flyers, leaflets, posters and so on that are posted should be attached
in a way that makes them difficult to remove. Random application requires
care, and is besides illegal. Our opponents use plate glass successfully;
also display windows of German shops.
c) The leaflet should contain a brief, easily understandable idea. It
should appeal to the enemy, which demands a certain skill on the part of
the writer. The text can be cruder in working class districts, more subtle
in the style of the Berlin democratic papers in middle class neighborhoods.
The most important phrases should be in bold or larger type. Tiny text, bad
organization and boring material kill interest. The interest of the
indifferent, from whom one cannot expect much effort, must be awakened.
The legal issue here is important. The distributor of a leaflet is at risk
when information about the printer or author is missing.
Information about distribution is given in rubrics d) and e).
d) Special issues of party newspapers have a special note in red at the top
announcing a particular meeting. A rubber stamp can be used for this.
Circle the date in red.
A trial subscription to our newspapers can have a remarkable effect on the
average person who receives little mail.
Don’t underestimate the impact of mailing advertising material and meeting
invitations to those in the S-Files (Sympathizers file) maintained by local
groups and sections. Mail is much more personal. Over time, it has its effects.
Each party member must ask for our newspapers in all restaurants, railway
stations, newspaper kiosks and so on.
More than ever, it is important to provide reading rooms with copies of our
And don’t forget the little things, to which we owe much success. One
always brings newspapers (new and used), leaflets, etc. along. At
appropriate times, one “accidentally” leaves them in the train, streetcar,
in restaurants, businesses in which one shops, in doctor and dentist
offices, at the barber, etc.
Books are such an obvious means of advertising that nothing more needs to
e) The brochures, which in contrast to leaflets provide the reader with
more detailed treatments of various issues, suffer the disadvantage of
costing sections and local groups considerable money. The Propaganda
Department tries to provide these at reasonable prices by printing large
numbers. We are preparing a brief version of our party program in an
edition of 150,000, which will cost 2 pfennig.
Brochures treating current issues will follow.
Party members in normal clothing are very effective when they distribute
such brochures at busy corners. This propaganda is even stronger when the
distributor has a sign that says something like “Free Brochure: How Long
Will It Go On?” He who understands the psychology of the masses knows that
people will take such brochures only when they are free.
Leaflets, free newspapers and brochures should be distributed only in such
places where it is likely that they will be read immediately. Good places
are in train stations, for those going to a train, not coming from one.
People will read on the train, but not on the street. Another example:
distribute in the morning at factory gates (not at the end of the shift).
Then the material can be read and discussed during the breakfast break. Our
leaflets and newspapers are also good reading for those waiting in the
unemployment offices, for travelers in long distance trains, etc., anywhere
where time must be killed and people will read anything.
The best success comes through the systematic distribution of advertising
material from door-to-door. This should be done only on Sunday mornings so
that people can read them at their leisure with their morning coffee.
Get every citizen a brochure on Sunday morning!
f) An important method of propaganda is the so-called “neighborhood
newspaper,” which, following the Communist example, are produced for a
specific area and distributed only there.
They contain news about our neighborhood activities and about the questions
of the day. To keep the sections and local groups free from difficulty with
the law, the political part is printed by a central office in the Gau. The
sections and local groups need to produce only the general section, list
the section meetings, the Gau meetings, and so on. An effective masthead is
g) The factory newspaper is modeled after the neighborhood newspapers. They
are designed only for a single factory and cover work issues and political
issues. To make them more interesting, events in the relevant factory are
covered. These newspapers are monitored by a central Gau office. Typical
mastheads: NSB-Scheinwerfer, Siemens-Lautsprecher, Lorenz-Aktie, etc.
h) Posters, despite their considerable cost, are the best form of
propaganda, and in relation to their cost a cheap method of advertising.
Posters with text give a brief summary of a meeting and acquaint the reader
with the goals of the speaker. It is well known that our textual posters
have their own style, such that the attentive observer recognizes from a
distance that it is something from the Nazis. Large posters in red must be
designed so that they stand out on the poster pillar. A small poster is
ineffective, and not in keeping with the significance of our movement. No
one reads a poster stuffed with text. The top must be clear enough to draw
attention. The bottom must also catch attention. The swastika should be
used sparingly at first, particularly in middle class districts.
The headline must be large; it should dominate the poster. In general, only
the name of the party should be emphasized in the text. The text should, as
already mentioned, be short and make the meeting topic clear. A mention of
our press is also appropriate.
Effective posters emphasize words that create a certain mood and can be
noticed from a distance.
A good example was the familiar large poster of Gau Greater Berlin: Heil
Kaiser Dir!, that had great success because it appeared at the right time
(27. January) and at the right places in the proper size.
We are preparing examples of good posters and an article titled “Posters
and leaflets from idea to reality.”
The text poster fulfills its purpose when, besides the already-mentioned
clear content, there is sufficient time to read it. If not, the picture
poster is better. The effect of the picture poster lies with its capacity
to be understood at a glance, to get across the spiritual attitude
instantly, whereas the text poster needs a certain time to read and a
longer time to think about. The hurried city-dweller does not have much
time. Mostly, he only catches a quick look at a poster while walking past.
The picture has to instantly say at a glance everything that a longer text
poster says. Herein lies the difficulty. It is hard to find a riveting
picture with a few catchy words. There aren’t many Mjölnirs. For us, the
picture poster is simply a question of money. Here too we are limited by
The posters from Gau Berlin for the Reichstag election of 1928 and the city
elections of 1929 are familiar. The Rathenau poster from the “Angriff,”
halfway between a text and picture poster, had great effect. Unfortunately,
it could be used only in a limited way. The illustration will be passed
along to the individual Gau offices for use in other posters.
The advertising campaign for the “Angriff” was imitated by the Ullstein
paper “Tempo,” though to a degree corresponding to the financial strength
of the firm. Our posters were:
Nr. 1. The Attack
Nr. 2. When will the Attack happen?
Nr. 3. “The Attack,” the German evening newspaper.
Ullstein did it this way:
1. You lack Tempo!
2. You will soon have Tempo.
3. Tomorrow you will have Tempo.
4. “Tempo”, the daily evening newspaper.
The legal side has already been covered in section c) (leaflets).
i) Stamps can be effective when used on letters, newspapers, etc. They
should use very short slogans. It’s a good idea to carry a stamp with one,
in order to be able to use it whenever possible. As already mentioned,
other posters may not be stamped; such stamps will be produced by the
propaganda offices and distributed to subordinate units.
k) Too little attention is given to the local press, particularly in
smaller towns. People learn about the NSDAP only from the standpoint of
their party press. Our successes are either ignored or played down.
Nonetheless, some local papers with wide readership do not oppose us. These
papers are usually willing to print material we provide.
Meeting announcements in the Community Calendar are generally carried.
There may be a small charge for longer notices.
Always send newspapers a brief, objective, but nonetheless informative
meeting report for their local sections.
Advertisements in the middle class press are usually very expensive and
only support the enemy. They should be used only when absolutely necessary.
Favorable treatment of the meeting should be made a condition of buying an
l) Stamps, which the Reich Propaganda Office produces in an attractive
manner, are not lacking in effect. They can be placed on the first page of
letters, on cards and so on in the bottom third. The price varies from 1/2
to 2 pfennig. The price of these stamps finances other propaganda.
Postcards of the movement should be sent to friends and acquaintances at
every opportunity. They may even have an impact on republican letter carriers.
m) A simple but still effective form of propaganda is the banners with
short slogans that hang in our large meetings. They can be used in smaller
versions on trucks and vans. In such cases, be sure to protect them.
Bicycle columns too can be used for propaganda.
n) Another method is the so-called railway track advertising. With the
permission of the property owner, signs can be erected. The “Völkischer
Beobachter” has won a large number of new subscriptions in this way.
Rooftop advertising is also useful, Unfortunately, it is expensive when the
approval of the owner is required.
o) The use of slide shows and film depends on the available means. The
party’s first films have already been produced by the central office and
Gau Berlin. A major film is in the works. We too should use the most modern
advertising methods to serve our movement.
2. Propaganda through the Spoken Word
Propaganda by the spoken word–talking with the individual, study groups,
discussion evenings, mass meetings, choruses–usually result from the
written word. The two forms of propaganda are inseparable.
a) The most basic form of oral propaganda is the discussion with the
individual. This form is still the most effective, since deep contact is
established. It is easier to do that in this way than in study groups.
b) The study group deepens the idea and educates the party member, and
encourages closer contact with citizens who are friendly or at least
honestly uncertain about the movement. Through them we win supporters by
give and take. Without doubt, the movement from its beginnings built the
inner strength it needed and won its best fighters through study groups.
Every local group should hold two study groups a month. If in a given month
no public meeting is held, it should hold another study group.
In contrast to the membership meeting, which only is held for internal
reasons, the study group is public. Members should bring guests and
truth-seeking citizens along.
Finding a speaker is not as difficult as it is for a mass meeting. Party
comrades who are not rhetorically able to handle a large public meeting can
lead a study group well, assuming they have the necessary knowledge of the
goals of the movement.
Through the experience their rhetorical abilities will grow. The
give-and-take will also make them suitable debaters at the meetings of
The speaker is the propagandist of the idea, who sacrifices his time,
strength, health and material welfare for the movement. Recognizing his
ability and caring for him provides support he needs.
It is a matter of honor for a speaker to meet his obligations insofar as it
is humanly possible. Meetings should be held regardless of the attendance.
The credibility of the Party is at stake.
The speaker should keep in mind that although his activity in a study
evening promises little fame, they often bring more success for the
movement than a public meeting.
e) The public mass meeting is the place where an authoritative speaker
proclaims the aims of our movement and the nature of our worldview with
regard to domestic and international events to every class of the
population. The meeting is therefore a matter of the prestige of the party
and a source of strength. The manner of its preparation is the mark of a
good local group or section. One should speak of a “mass meeting” only when
the masses will really appear.
The theme of the meeting should always be chosen to reach the people,
particularly the group that one wants to attract to the meeting. We
distinguish between world view and current event themes.
The other way to chose meeting themes is to find sensational events,
scandals of the Jews or Marxists, in particular events that can be
summarized in three or four words. This encourages the masses to come from
curiosity, anger over political events, or in the hope of hearing something
advantageous given their financial or class interests.
Do not neglect either worldview or political themes. Otherwise, one either
loses contact with the masses, or on the other hand attracts unhealthy
masses, not the valuable fighters we need. The goal is to build the
enthusiasm of the masses from meeting to meeting so that they are eager to
come, as was achieved in an exemplary manner in Munich during the years
The following principles for conducting meetings apply:
1. Give the speaker a brief summary of local political conditions before
2. Be sure the chairman gets the right to conduct the meeting from the
owner, with witnesses.
3. Be sure the meeting is guarded by sufficient numbers of S.A. men, or if
absolutely necessary by the police. The latter is particularly important
when trouble is expected. State liability applies only if damages exceed
4. Experience has shown that, in some areas, it is a good idea to have some
non-uniformed members of the S.A. in the audience to deal with troublemakers.
5. The chairman leads the meeting. His introduction and conclusion should
be no more than 3-5 minutes.
6. Party comrades have an obligation to attend. This is a tactical
necessity. No party member may show, either through his absence or by
inattention during the speech, that he already knows everything the speaker
has to say.
7. During the discussion after the speech, only one prominent speaker from
each party should have opportunity to speak. Passing the time on to another
is impermissible. It is better from the start to grant a discussion speaker
from another party a longer time if this is appropriate for the meeting.
8. At difficult meetings, it is advisable to announce the time at the
beginning of each discussion speech. This eliminates a later claim that the
speaker has only had 5 or 10 minutes.
9. Make propaganda for our press at every meeting, either by a few words
from the chairman or before the meeting or during breaks.
10. The chairman will close every meeting with Heil to National Socialism
and to our leader Adolf Hitler.
11. Closing the meeting with a song is effective only when the effect will
be powerful. If this is done, the chairman must have everyone stand. It is
best to sing only a single verse. A few voices in various corners of the
room create a miserable impression, particularly when it gives opportunity
to the enemy to sing their songs.
If many communists are present, do not close with the national anthem. The
following case demonstrates this. One of our well-known speakers spoke to a
meeting with a predominately communist audience. After he had impressively
demonstrated the whole miserable swindle of Bolshevist equality to the
audience, the chairman wanted to close the successful meeting with the
national anthem. The speaker whispered to him “Don’t sing the national
anthem!” The chairman said: “At the request of the speaker, we won’t sing
the national anthem!” This stupidity led the communists to say that we had
good speakers, but were still reactionaries, while the Stahlhelm members
present thought we were concealed Marxists after all!
d) Choruses supported by a trumpet are effective. Several short, compelling
sentences, repeated often, have a strong effect on a meeting. Be sure they
have practiced, and are not in an awkward position.
3. Propaganda through Mass Marches:
The third type of propaganda includes Demonstrations, local S.A. marches,
Gau and Reich party rallies. Here all that needs to be said is that good
discipline is the best propaganda.
4. Propaganda through Cultural Gatherings:
Cultural gatherings are the fourth group. The influence of theater and
movies on the masses is well known. One has to think only of Piscator or on
Russian films like “Battleship Potemkin” and “The General Line.” We must
try to use these institutions for our purposes, and to combat the
destructive influence of cultural bolshevism. The N.S.Volksbühne and the
N.S.-Filmbühne have been established in some cities already and have done
well. They are not only a recreational outlet for party members, but also
advertising gatherings. Our theater presents only works displaying the
German spirit. The N.S.-Filmbühne, which strives to produce our own films,
also shows films that put heroic thoughts in the foreground.
In order to use our films every day, we should attempt to supplement
political speeches with films in the suburbs. Even the smallest cell can be
reached and informed in this way.
This has been only a survey of propaganda. It must be used in various ways,
but will be successful only when it is conducted by fanatical fighters with