Goebbels’ 11 principles of propaganda

Authoritarian states, by their own fundamental ideas, have always aspired to control all individuals to protect their disturbing ideological umbrella. In this sense, defining the path by which to model the most intimate of all human beings (their thought) has always been one of their main goals to conquer.

Propaganda techniques have traditionally covered this intention, taking advantage of any development of knowledge about basic and group psychology. In fact, there was even a time when many countries “had on the wage bill” real experts in such struggles, and in responsible ministerial positions. Each of them shook their heads as they thought of programs to achieve this.

Without a doubt, the most transcendent of all was the German articulation of WWII, from which they originated. the well-known principles of Goebbels propaganda (Which were erected as an inspiration to others who came later).

In this article, we will detail each of the points that Joseph Goebbels, a figure of great historical infamy, devised to spread Nazi ideology among the German population of his time. Knowledge is fundamental, because it is an important part of our saddest history.

    The 11 propaganda principles of Joseph Goebbels and the Nazis

    Goebbels is surely one of the most enigmatic characters in recent history. To his credit, he maintains a close friendship with dictator Adolf HitlerThanks to which he occupied in the years of the Nazi regime the post of Minister of Illustration and Propaganda. His peculiar physical appearance (he suffered from permanent lameness and a very low waist), as well as the fiery speeches in which he performed, are two of his most memorable characteristics. However, it should be noted that he was a staunch anti-Semite, and that he was one of the few public officials to expressly (proudly) acknowledge the genocide of the Jewish people.

    His attitude of savage hatred, spiced with a very remarkable talent for oratory and for art (in particular literature), composed an indigestible mixture from which arose works of exaltation on death. One of the goals he pursued until his death (a day after Adolf Hitler) was to build a German morality based on the principles of the regime, which required the extermination of those who were considered their enemies. All this certainly required an unprecedented propaganda apparatus.

    One of the first tasks he performed in his political role was censor all media that oppose the ideas of his party and encourage art and information to align with them. He had a keen interest in audiovisual resources (cinema, music, etc.) in terms of useful tools for disseminating his ideology among the German population of those years. He was a devoted censor and promoter of the fundamental goal of building a country mired in war, so that a large number of artistic careers (in all kinds of disciplines) arose and died during his tenure. .

    The unknowns that prevail about her figure are disparate. Many consider that he did not really play such an important role as a politician, that he was nothing more than a talkative who never contributed to the big decisions of his country or even that he suffered from a narcissistic personality disorder. In all Goebbels’ propaganda principles have survived to the present day, Witnesses to the horror that this period has left etched forever on the face of history.

    Let’s see what these Goebbels propaganda laws are and the scope of each. The effect sought by this author could only be achieved if all were accomplished, in a perfectly regulated “symphony orchestra” of social manipulation.

    1. Principle of simplification

    This principle is based on the reduction of all the complexity of the different enemies to a much more discreet reality, devoid of diversity and very easily identifiable. The goal is to infuse everything that is opposed to the very ideas of a common and simple feature where their edges are reduced to the same caricature. That way, there would never be a battle against multiple antagonists, but a war in which only a single competitor would fight: evil, brutality, injustice or ignorance.

    Through this process, all the nuances of the opponents would be abstracted, which would take shape in a much simpler idea and loaded with the worst connotation imaginable. The enemy would therefore be common to all who embraced such propaganda, concentrating their hatred against the main concept in which the rival was embodied.

    2. Principle of the contagion method

    This principle would be associated with the above. Its objectives are simple: in addition to simplifying the facts, it would seek to disperse a certain number of attributes to all subjects which embrace ideas opposed to theirs. These are often adjectives with negative, demeaning and / or ridiculous content; which would be attributed, without meditation, to the adversary. This is the logical step after diluting the feeling of multiplicity, by which stereotypes would spread from what the propaganda apparatus considered “undesirable” (All Jews are thieves, for example)

    The formula that would be used in this case would be extremely simple, and would be based on a strengthening of the homogeneity perceived by the outgroup (which is currently considered a common trait among those who have xenophobic or supremacist ideas).

      3. Principle of transposition

      At the time when he is the subject of an unavoidable accusation, the other must be pointed out for exactly the same “error” that he found in our way of proceeding. In Politics, we can observe when cases of embezzlement or embezzlement transcend public opinion, which motivates a crossroads of reproaches in which it is bragged that: “well you did it too, and even worse than me “.

      This attitude seeks to generate a distraction that distracts from the figure itself and replace ourselves in others, keeping any shadow of suspicion out of our environment.

      4. Principle of exaggeration and disfigurement

      This principle provides that any mistake by the other must be taken advantage of immediately. To do so would blur its relevance and scope, so that it appears to be a much more serious or negative event (for their own interests) than it actually is. He would seek to trace the threats in almost all acts committed by the enemy, including those to which only anecdotal or circumstantial importance could be attributed. In this case it would not be caricatured to individuals or groups, but to its form of behaving, thus closing the malicious circle of demagoguery.

      5. Principle of popularization

      This principle proposes that the properties of the messages to be communicated be adapted to the level of the individuals who are going to receive them, and in particular to the least intelligent of all. Through this process, all complex nuances would be removed, And he would seek to spread something as “simple” as any human being could understand. This way of conceiving propaganda advertisements was aimed at the masses and not at those who formed them, taking advantage of the fact that groups are easier to convince than isolated individuals (and that they also forget more quickly).

      6. Principle of orchestration

      Ideas that need to be conveyed to the masses need to be repeated continually, Using different prisms and angles but emphasizing the same concept. It is important that everything is reduced to the most basic possible, so that it is almost impossible to perceive any indication of doubt or embarrassment in the content of what is transmitted. This strategy is fundamental, because it increases the number of times the message is available, which increases the degree of credibility that people place on it and its availability in the individual consciousness. In other words, the main thing would be to repeat the preaching until the exhaustion itself.

      7. Principle of renewal

      This principle refers not to the content, but to the forms, and more particularly at the rate at which information is transmitted. The goal would be generate so many accusations that the victim did not have enough time to excuse or prove their falsity, Because by the time he tried to free himself from all his burden, the passage of time would have relegated him to a situation of irrelevance, or the public would no longer have a stake in what he had. to say (since there is already being a new “news” to revel in). Ultimately, the goal is to overwhelm the rival and supersaturate the people.

      8. Principle of plausibility

      All information must be supported by as many sources as possible, which was very viable in Germany that this Nazi Minister of Propaganda was planning (since he had banned any media that did not agree with the ideas of his party ). In the same principle the possibility of “camouflaging” is found objectively in some news has also been considered, Make these easier to digest for the target audience. Self-interested selection of which details to examine and what to omit / hide (so-called “fragmentation”) is essential to this law of manipulation.

      9. Principle of silence

      This principle aims to silence all positive news about rivals, using media related to the cause. It will also seek to omit news that is unfavorable about oneself or that will discourage the mood of the population from being manipulated. The aim would be to bias any information they might have, and even to reserve negative or false news for the moment the opponent’s successes occur, neutralizing their effects on the listener. For this principle, the main thing is the tempo and the distortion.

      10. Principle of transfusion

      By this principle, it would be intended to use the history of a nation, and even its popular myths, to link them directly to the adversary to be overthrown by analogies and comparisons. The goal is to take advantage of a pre-existing hatred, the root sinks into the common cultural and social heritage, To pour it directly on those who oppose a diet. In this way, both would be developed from the same premise, and the argument with which one attempts to attack would hint at atavistic ailments passed down from generation to generation.

      11. Principle of unanimity

      The claim of this principle is make believe that the ideas that we want to disseminate benefit from the consensus of the entire population, So that those who welcome them as their own come to the “opinion” that they want to pass off as a general. This principle aspires to take advantage of the well-known phenomenon of social conformism, which is attributed an enormous capacity for persuasion, especially among those who are wary of their own criteria to guide themselves throughout life.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Cantano, A. and López Zapico, M. (2014). Hate propaganda: anti-communist exhibitions under the Third Reich. History and social communication. 19, 72-97.
      • Rindisbacher, H. (2011). Goebbels’ point of view: a new biography of the Nazi propaganda minister. European Legacy: New Paradigms, 16 535-537.

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