by Peter Hyatt
Herr Dr. Goebbels began his work through Berlin's version of Hollywood, that is, the movie industry.
There, he began to propagate his political party's stance through 'virtues', that is, what his party believed, was the 'ethical' and 'moral' right. The language will show a subtleness to it at first, but moves, depending upon success, to the language of assumption, with phrases like "of course", which means to accept without question.
People often wonder just how it was that the average German would hold such contempt for Jews that they would be willing to betray their Jewish neighbor, even unto death?
'Intelligencia' had to yield, or suffer not simply consequences impacting their careers, but in some cases, their lives. Churches had to bend their theology to fit Nazi ideology or suffer persecution in some form or another, with some Christian leaders losing their lives, as well as other Christians, in Germany and Nazi influenced lands, losing their lives for harboring Jews.
A snap shot of Germany, 1942, with the outcome of the war still in doubt, we would shudder in disbelief what German society did, and what they said.
What they did, evidenced by what they said, came from what they believed.
"Quod credimus agenda" means that we do what we believe. Or, as a clever writer recently put it,
"It's the ideology, stupid!"
In 1942, reports of "concentration camps" and rumors of "round up of Jews" surfaced in the United States and Britain. They were often dismissed.
In particular, Franklin Roosevelt convened Jewish leaders to advise on these "European Jewish matters" that were increasing in both quantity and in intensity as they went from reports of "crass mistreatment" by "fringe thugs" to the most difficult to believe, government sanctioned persecution. The Nuremberg laws were sometimes dismissed as political nonsense.
Those with "coal in their mouths", or "coal on their tongues" were those who dared to criticize the leadership of Germany, particularly those who did not succumb to more than a decade of propaganda which sought to uplift the traits of the German, while degrading the person of the Jew. In hindsight, it is fascinating to see I.Q. studies of European Jews, who outscored many others, including Germans.
For more than a decade, the German people were indoctrinated in a belief system which means, given the length of time, that children, the most impressionable among us, had time to go from age 11 to age 21, that is, adulthood. The "Hitler Youth" were reached when they were in the developmental stage of life, with many of them becoming some of the most zealous of extremest among extremest soldiers, even while the regular career military went from loathing the party influence, to being under its rule.
Movies made their impact.
Yet it is not movies alone, nor even news releases combined with movies, which were powerful in influencing the average German, but it was also the threat of disagreeing that "put the icing on the cake" of squashing resistance, moving from threats, to career downgrades, to poverty, and finally, to imprisonment and death.
Freedom and party ideology could not co-exist.
At one point, there was a subtle pressure on citizens to embrace party ideology. It became 'vogue' or, what we call today, 'politically correct' to embrace certain positions.
These positions soon became the "moral high ground" or "true ethical stance" among German society, as the "coal in the mouth" began to warm up a bit.
This moved, over years, which means that the slowness, itself, is deceptive in discerning it, with those resisting, now no longer viewed as "politically incorrect", but a slow transformation began, with ugly condemnation of moral and ethical language, to criminal.
In one year, disagreement meant debate. The language has equal footing: one thought versus counter-thought.
In another year, disagreement meant insult and being marginalized, professionally. Here is where the propaganda is now supposed to be "accepted" as morally superior, while underlining its weakness: threat now enters the language, in early forms. The threat ranges from being 'politically incorrect' (our day's language) to the threat of insult, to the threat of consequence, particularly:
a. social outcast
Then as time passes, in the next year, it may mean anger, especially since the resister does not "see" the moral high ground and the anger leads to civil or 'street' violence. Recall the "Night of Broken Glass" against Jews. The fascist thugs who carried it out had to portray it as a "populous" and 'spontaneous' event.
Freedom of speech was pressured out of the equation, for most, by this "moral high ground" stance.
Next, arrest, and more threats.
Next, it meant imprisonment.
Finally, it meant death.
The persuasion is slow and has its affect in a slow, almost without plain perception by the people (not paying attention to the language, or what in Statement Analysis is called "dull listening"; enough time has passed and suddenly people say, "what happened to us?" and "how did it get this far?" in disbelief or denial.
As the pressure builds, religious organizations are pressured to succum to the new "righteous" or "ethical" cause of whatever the propaganda is promoting. If they do not, they begin to feel the tightening of covert pressure first, and then on to more overt pressure. In Germany, it was not just some Catholic churches in compliance, some Protestant churches took the "libertarian" view of silence, not verbally agreeing, but not verbally attacking, either.
Most will, as we saw in Germany, make subtle changes to their belief system, first simply be de-emphasizing what t is that is popular. 'After all', the ethical compass points the way of the propaganda. Those who do not "see" the "error of their ways" can be forced into difficult positions. People began to be afraid to attend churches that did not have the party's approval, in the 1930's, though an open conflict awaited them. For some of religious faith, this meant imprisonment and death, though they held to their beliefs.
It is important to learn the lesson of propaganda and put away "dulled listening" and begin to believe the words used, within the overall propagandized message.
1. The need to propagandize speaks to weakness
2. The actual words chosen should be listened to with "trained listening";
3. The small compromises made along the way