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Goebbels' Principles of Propaganda

Goebbels' Principles of Propaganda

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Published by Hadi Kobaysi
FOR almost a dozen years German Propaganda Minister Goebbels was recognized as a master of his trade by those who fought and by those who acclaimed the Nazi state. This article, based on both the published and unpublished portions of Goebbels' diary, summarizes the major propaganda principles which he followed. The author, who served as Policy Coordinator of the Overseas Branch of the Office of War Information during World War II, is Professor of Psychology at Yale University.
FOR almost a dozen years German Propaganda Minister Goebbels was recognized as a master of his trade by those who fought and by those who acclaimed the Nazi state. This article, based on both the published and unpublished portions of Goebbels' diary, summarizes the major propaganda principles which he followed. The author, who served as Policy Coordinator of the Overseas Branch of the Office of War Information during World War II, is Professor of Psychology at Yale University.

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Published by: Hadi Kobaysi on Sep 16, 2009
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American Association for Public Opinion Research
Goebbels' Principles of PropagandaAuthor(s): Leonard W. DoobSource:
The Public Opinion Quarterly,
Vol. 14, No. 3 (Autumn, 1950), pp. 419-442Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Association for PublicOpinion ResearchStable URL:
Accessed: 09/07/2009 11:17
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available athttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unlessyou have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and youmay use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained athttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=aapor.Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with thescholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform thatpromotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.
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are collaborating with JSTORto digitize, preserve and extend access to
The Public Opinion Quarterly.
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Goebbels'
Principles
of
Propaganda
BYLEONARD W. DOOB
FOR
almostadozenyearsGermanPropaganda majorpropaganda principleswhich hefol-MinisterGoebbels wasrecognizedas amasterlowed.ofhis tradebythose whofoughtandbythoseTheauthor,whoservedasPolicyCoordi-who acclaimedtheNazistate.Thisarticle,natorofthe OverseasBranch of theOfficeofbasedon both thepublishedandunpublishedWarInformationduringWorldWarII,isPro-portionsofGoebbels'diary,summarizesthefessorofPsychologyatYaleUniversity.
AMONGthe Nazi documentssalvagedbyAmerican authoritiesnBerlin nI945areclose to6,800pagesofamanuscriptstensiblydic-tatedbyPropagandaMinisterGoebbelsasadiarywhichcovers,with
many gaps,theperiodfromJanuary
21,
I942to December9, I943.
Thematerialwastypedtriple-spacednlargeGerman-Gothiccriptandwithwidemarginsuponheavywatermarkedpaper,with theresultthat theaveragepagecontainedess thanIoowords.About30percentof thismanuscript-themostinterestingandgenerallythemostimportantparts-hasbeenvery accuratelyandidiomaticallytranslatedyLouisP.Lochner.1Theanalysisnthepresentarticle sbaseduponcarefulexaminationf theentiredocumentwhichis nowinthe HooverInstituteandLibrarynWar,Peace,and RevolutionatStanfordUniversity.2Thematerialundoubtedlywas dictatedbyGoebbels,but itisnotnecessarilynintimateortruthfulaccountof hislife asanindividualorpropagandist.e wastoocraftyopourforthhissoul to asecretary.Whathesaidmusthavebeen motivatedbywhateverpublicaudienceheimaginedwouldeventuallyeehiswords;or-asSpeierhaspointedout3-thedocumentmaypossibly epresentartsof anauthenticdiarywhich wereselectedbyhimor someoneelsefor somespecificpurpose.
1Lochner,LouisP.[Editor].TheGoebbelsDiaries.NewYork:Doubleday&Company, I948.
2
ThewriterwishestoexpresshisgratitudetoMr.PhilipT. McLean of theLibraryfor mak-ing arrangementsto havethemanuscriptmicrofilmed;totheYale AttitudeChange Projectforpayingthecosts of themicrofilm;and toProfessor CarlF.Schreiberof YaleUniversityforaidintranslatingsomeof themoredifficult wordsandphrases.aSpeier,Hans.Review ofLochner,op.cit.,PublicOpinionQuarterly,Fall,I948,pP.500-505.
 
420PUBLIC OPINIONQUARTERLY,FALL
1950
Asectioncalled"Yesterday--Militaryituation,"ithwhich eachday'sentry beganandwhich Lochnerhassensiblyomittedaltogether,wasdefinitelynot writtenbyGoebbels: hewritingwas mostobjective;oftenthe sameeventsmentioned hereinwerereportedgainandcom-menteduponinotherpartsof thesameday'sentry;andinfrequentlyablankpage appearednderthesameheadingwiththenotation"tobe insertedater." nthemanuscriptwehave,thereare fewpersonaldetails.nstead tappearshatGoebbelswished todemonstrate n un-swervingoyaltytoHitler;toexposetheineptitudesof theGermanmilitarystaffs;toboastabouthis ownaccomplishments,isrespecta-bility,and his devotionotheNazicause;andtoplaceontherecordcriticismsfrivalNazis likeGoeringandRosenberg.The natureof the documentwould be aproblemmostgermaneoanexaminationof Goebbels'personalityr thehistoryofNazidom,but theseopicsarenotbeingdiscussed ere.Attentionhasbeenfocusedonlyontheprincipleswhichappearounderliehepropagandalansanddecisionsdescribedn themanuscript. potcheckssuggestbut donotprovehatthe wordsof thediaryactually orrespondo theactivitiesofGoebbels'propagandamachine.Onetypicalexampleofthe corre-spondencemustsuffice.TheentrynthediaryorNovember
i,
I943,
containedhisobservation:TheresnolongeranytalkintheEnglishpressof thepossibilityfa moralcollapseftheReich.Onthecontrary,weare creditedwithmuchgreatermilitaryprowesshan weenjoyatthemoment...."Onthe sameday,theBerlinerllustrierteNachtaus-gabecarriedaneditorialwhichassertedhat the"jubilantllusions" ftheBritishregardingaGermancollapsehave"suddenlyhangedtodeep pessimism;heenemy'sstrongesthopesarecrushed."Twodayslater theheadlineof theleadingarticle ntheVoelkischerBeobachterwas "Warof NervesDeparts."OnNovember13thediarystatedhattheEnglish"havebeenimagininghatexactlyon thisday[November
ii]
therewould beinthe Reichamoralebreakdownwhich,however,has nowbeenpushedbythem intotheinvisibleuture."Adaylatera Naziofficialspokeover the domesticradio:"Thekey-dateshosenbytheenemyare nowpassed:ourpeoplehaverepulsedhisgeneralattack. .."All thatisbeingassumed,nshort,isthatthemanuscriptmoreor lessfaithfullyreflectsGoebbels'ropaganda trategyandtactics:t

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