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NAZI GERMANY –REPRESSION PROPAGANDA AND CENSORSHIP.. A. REPRESSION Nazi Germany was a Police State where the state uses the police to control every aspect of peoples’ lives and uses repressive measures. It was also a Totalitarian State where the State exercised a large degree of control over every aspect of people’s lives. THE INSTRUMENTS OF REPRESSION. 1. THE SS The SS started out as Hitler’s personal bodyguard. Commanded by Heinrich Himmler it played a leading role in The Night of the Long Knives. By the mid 1930’s it had 50,000 men. It operated concentration camps and enforces laws on racial purity. SS recruits were expected to be pure Aryans and to be perfect physical specimens. At one time even tooth fillings would disqualify you from joining. During the War the SS expanded into the Waffen SS which provided high quality fighting divisions. It recruited from Aryans across Europe. 2. THE GESTAPO This was the police force and it was run by Reinhard Heydrich. They wore plain clothes and spied on people. They were not accountable and arrested whoever they liked. By 1939 150,000 people were under protective arrest in prisons and concentration camps. This was often not for criminal actions but for opposing the Nazis or just not fitting in. 3. CONCENTRATION CAMPS. The first one was set up in Dachau in 1933. They contained a variety of people who didn’t fit into the New Germany, criminals, Jews, socialists, homosexuals, prostitutes and so on. From 1938 they were used for forced labour. They need to be distinguished from extermination camps such as Auschwitz. Although many people died in concentration camps they were not organised for the sole purpose of mass murder. 4. THE LAW. The Nazis controlled the Courts through the National Socialist League for the Maintenance of the Law. Hitler insisted that judges were Nazis and allowed them freedom to punish people unfairly. If Hitler felt a sentence was too lenient he would intervene and increase it. 5. ORDINARY PEOPLE Most disturbing of all was the way in which ordinary Germans went along with all of this. Many people were arrested, not after having been spied on by the Gestapo (which was a fairly small organisation) but after being denounced by their friends and neighbours. PROPAGANDA AND CENSORSHIP In order to achieve a Totalitarian State the Nazis used propaganda to get their message across and also censorship – stopping anything critical being written about them. Josef Goebbels was in charge of Nazi propaganda as Minister of People’s Enlightenment and Propaganda 1. THE PRESS The Nazis controlled all Newspapers and made sure they only wrote things favourable to the them. 2. UNIVERSITIES Some 3,000 lecturers and academics were sacked for opposing The Nazis. Research was encouraged but it had to support the Nazi viewpoint on race for example. 3. THE ARTS Writers, musicians, artists and actors had to be members of the Reich Chamber of Culture. Books by Jewish or Communist writers were publically burnt. Jazz music was banned as it was associated with black people and so was Mendelssohn as he was part Jewish. The Works of the Richard Wagner were encouraged as he put heroic German legends to music. Beethoven and Bach were encouraged. Art and architecture had to be pro Nazi and plays were allowed so long as they promoted Nazi ideas or the Nazi version of German History. Posters were used as were the annual mass rallies at Nuremburg. 4. RADIO AND CINEMA The Nazis encouraged radio but it was under government control. There were many pro Nazi films such as Triumph of the Will and HitlerJunge Quex. They even made a Nazi version of Mickey Mouse. 5. SPORT The 1936 Olympics were held in Berlin. It was excellently organised and showed Germany in a good light. They won 33 gold medals which Hitler claimed was due to Aryan superiority. However the outstanding athlete of the games was Jesse Owens. Hitler refused to present him with a medal. 6. THE IMAGE OF HITLER. The Nazis tried to create an image of Hitler as the strong decisive figure who was also caring towards children and the Father of the Nation.