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Top 10 pieces of Nazi German propaganda that backfired

Joseph Goebbels was the mastermind behind the Nazi Germany propaganda machine and was hailed as the inventor of marketing strategies that are still used today, and in addition to the idea of ​​”false news”.

After the outbreak of World War II in 1939, however, problems soon arose in Goebbels’ propaganda paradise. Under the constant threat of invasion and frequent Allied bombings, the German public was not so ready to simply embrace the Nazis’ values ​​and principles. The pressure of the war led to errors in propaganda, along with the increasingly eccentric notions that Goebbels did not get to the point of the German population.

Although Hitler’s National Socialist Party managed to change the ideology of an entire country, not all of the Third Reich̵

7;s propaganda efforts went according to plan.

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10th Hitler’s perfect Aryan baby

In 1935, Joseph Goebbels started a campaign in search of the “perfect Aryan baby”.

In contrast to all Aryan values, Goebbels chose a brunette, brown-eyed baby, who at that time opposed much of the Aryan propaganda.

The baby’s face soon appeared in all kinds of printed propaganda across the country. But no one was more shocked to see a baby’s face appear in Nazi Germany’s normally militaristic propaganda than the baby’s parents themselves; Jacob and Pauline Levinson. Especially when they knew that their daughter was Jewish.

A rebel artist named Hans Ballin recently took the photo of the Levinson daughter in his Berlin studio. Ballin hated the Nazi regime and submitted this photo of Hessy Taft in the hope that it would undermine Goebbels’ entire competition.

While Ballin managed to humiliate the Nazi regime, the artist’s decision put the Levinsons at great risk and they eventually had to flee Latvia.[1]

9 Hitler’s first example of a full-blooded Aryan soldier

Werner Goldberg was a German half-Jewish descent and appeared on posters throughout Nazi Germany as the ideal Aryan soldier of the Wehrmacht.

On December 1, 1938, Goldberg joined the German army and participated in the invasion of Poland in 1939. Shortly after the outbreak of war, Goldberg’s photo appeared in the Berliner Tagesblatt with the heading “The ideal German soldier”. The photo was sold to the newspaper by the army photographer and later even used for recruitment posters.

Within less than a year, this “ideal German soldier” would soon be banished from the army he had fought for after Hitler issued an order on April 8, 1940, to expel anyone of 1st degree Jewish descent from the army must become forces.

Not quite the ideal German soldier Goebbels had hoped for.[2]

8th The much too successful degenerate art gallery

Before the Nazis came to power in 1939, Germany was the center of modern art. Dadaism and the Bauhaus movement became known worldwide, and artists sought inspiration in Germany.

When the Nazis came to power, however, the freedom of the German art scene was destroyed. The party felt the anger of the public about these restrictions and concluded that they were simply misled. An art exhibition entitled “Degenerate Art” or “Degenerate Art” was held in Munich to show why modern art was dangerous and shameful.

Over 650 works of art were taken from German galleries and arranged chaotically. In addition to the works, explanations were shown as to why the works of art did not support the Nazi regime. At the same time, the Nazis opened an art gallery entitled “Great German Art Exhibition”, in which only art recognized by Aryans was shown to demonstrate the superiority of this art form.

However, this plan failed and five times as many people visited the “Degenerate Art” gallery. In fact, it was so popular that there were more than 36,000 visitors in one day.[3]

7 Radio Caledonia

Radio Caledonia’s only goal was to turn the Scottish public against the British government, and it was an arm of Goebbels’ Nazi propaganda machine.

The programs were written and hosted by Scottish fascist Donald Grant, who argued that Hitler-controlled Scotland was better than Scotland controlled by an English Churchill.

Radio Caledonia’s reception in the UK was so poor, however, that the station was often free for a long time. The Scots Independent openly denounced Radio Caledonia and considered it a risk. A column claimed that the radio station was not helpful for the cause of Scottish nationalism.

Radio Caledonia failed miserably and stopped broadcasting in 1942.[4]

6 Life goes on

By 1944, most of the German population was prepared for an inevitable defeat, and the nation felt a sense of hopelessness.

Even after the war ended, Goebbels naively believed that propaganda would distract the German public. After looking, Mrs. MinervaGoebbels, in which Londoners had teamed up against the lightning bomb attack, decided that Germany needed its own uplifting film.

This film would come in the form of Life goes on and Goebbels regarded it as his pride and joy; Recruitment of the leading occupation and crew of the Third Reich.

Filming began in January 1945 when Allied troops literally drove to German soil. In fact, most of the Berlin buildings and landmarks of the film had already been destroyed by Allied bombings when filming began. Goebbels was determined to finish the film and instead even diverted important materials from reconstruction to production!

Eventually, the director was forced to make his film while on the run, as the approaching Red Army would constantly attack places where the cast had shot hours earlier.

Production was finally discontinued just a few days before German surrender. The film rolls were never found. Some rumors say they were hidden in the ruins of a cathedral. Historians have tried to track down remnants of the footage, but all that’s left of Goebbels’ latest propaganda are storyboards and newsreel footage of the production.[5]

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5 Jesse Owens – 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin

The 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin were the first to be televised worldwide. Hitler consequently used this opportunity to make the Nazis known worldwide and initiated funds for the construction of a huge new stadium.

At that time, Jesse Owens, a black American athlete, took the athletics track by storm, setting the world record for the 100-yard dash when he was still in high school! American decision makers were aware of Nazi Germany’s discriminatory policies against Jewish athletes and almost boycotted the 1936 Olympic Games. However, the politicians were overruled by the American Olympic Committee and their participation continued.

Indeed, Owens openly expressed his desire to participate in the Olympic Games and viewed the politicians’ attitude towards Germany as an attitude characterized by hypocrisy. Growing up in a country that advocated Jim Crow Laws and obvious discrimination – in the eyes of most black athletes, the politicians who debated the boycott had no moral foundation to stand on.

The games reached viewers in 41 countries and, to Hitler’s dismay, it was a black American, Jesse Owens, who immediately became the star of the Summer Olympics. Winning four gold medals at athletics events; Owens was the first American to win 4 gold medals in a single Olympiad.

While Owens couldn’t easily stop the rise of the Nazi regime, he managed to undermine the ideology of an entire nation and steal the limelight from one of the most fanatical leaders in history.[6]

4th William Shakespeare

At the end of the 19th century, William Shakespeare became known as “our Shakespeare” in Germany and his plays were not performed more frequently in any other country in the world. Shakespeare was thus a central pillar of German culture, which could not simply be pushed aside by the Nazification.

For the Nazis, theater was not just a political weapon; Goebbels himself remarked: “A good mood is an instrument of war … and even a factor that determines the outcome of the war.” In May 1934, Goebbels therefore introduced the Act on the Uniform Theater Act, which meant that all theaters were officially under his control.

Nevertheless, a dynamic version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet came on the stage of the Berlin State Theater and undermined the principles of heroism, which Goebbels wanted to follow all the main characters. The production consequently contained subversive messages and was nevertheless proclaimed by Goebbels himself as the “summit of German theater” and even used as a propaganda piece during a state visit to Vienna. The director Jürgen Fehling went one step further and openly undermined the tyrannical dictatorship of the Nazi regime through a production by Richard III. Richard von Gloucester’s character got a limp, which Goebbels imitated directly, and the costumes corresponded to the style of the SA troops. Unfortunately for Goebbels, this was one of the most popular theater productions in the entire Third Reich.

Shakespeare would not be pressed and manipulated into such a tight-fitting, propaganda straitjacket. Although endless theater laws could dictate the repair of a theater, the Nazis could never gain final control over a people’s imagination.[7]

3rd The V-2

The V-2 missile was the most advanced weapon of the German army in World War II. It was widely advertised as one of Hitler’s “revenge weapons” and presented to the public as the weapon that Germany would win the war.

The V-2 was a huge ballistic missile that carried a 1-ton warhead. It was shot to the edge of space before striking its unsuspecting target at supersonic speeds. The weapon was used primarily against London and Antwerp during the war, and there was no defense against it at that time.

Although the development of the rocket began before the war, it was only ready for use in autumn 1944 – a time when Germany was already losing. Overall, the weapon did very little damage compared to the huge sums of money invested in its development. Only 3,000 V-2s have ever been launched and are believed to have killed a total of 9,000 people; a number well below the number of slave laborers who were killed in building the missiles. Even more embarrassing is that the total amount of explosives delivered by all V-2s ever fired was far less than a single RAF Bomber Command airstrike could drop.[8]

2nd Ark Royal

H.M.S Ark Royal was an aircraft carrier of the British Royal Navy that served during the Second World War and was the first purpose-built aircraft carrier.

Their reputation was strengthened when their crew successfully sunk the first German submarine of the war, torpedoed the German battleship Bismarck and successfully sunk the German Admiral Graf Spee – an embarrassing affair for the German Navy.

The Ark Royal soon became known as a “lucky ship”. Avoiding almost two torpedoes that missed the stern of the ship by only a few 100 meters, she survived a submarine attack and an attack by three Air Force Dornier seaplanes.

The successful sinking of the Ark Royal was incorrectly reported several times on German radio, with the British crew even deciding to listen to the blatant propaganda lies as a form of entertainment. The sinking of the Ark Royal was so crucial to Goebbels militaristic propaganda that Lieutenant Adolf Francke, who led the air force attack on the ship and reported a successful sinking, was publicly recognized.

In fact, the bombing had only destroyed the ship’s cutlery, and Winston Churchill himself invited the U.S. Navy attache to visit the Ark Royal in the dock to both calm the Allied forces and embarrass the German Navy.[9]

1 Sally axis

Mildred Elizabeth Gillars, nicknamed “Axis Sally”, was an American broadcaster used by the Nazis to broadcast propaganda on German state radio.

In 1942, Gillars was cast on a radio show called “Home Sweet Home,” the sole purpose of which was to homesick the U.S. Forces. Gillars’ main tactic was to discuss the possible infidelity of women and friends of soldiers at home. Gillars also broadcast a show called “Midge at the Mike” that interrupted American jazz through defeatist propaganda about the radio waves in Europe. Most worrying, however, was her show, entitled “GI’s Letterbox,” in which she broadcast information about captured or wounded American soldiers to worry about families in America.

Nonetheless, this propaganda did not have the effect Goebbels intended, and instead, many reports from US troops found Axis Sally very entertaining – and even won fans among the armed forces. How else could the troops hear hot jazz in the middle of the war?[10]

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