Weekend Heller: How Propaganda Trumped the Press

The first job of a repressive regime is to repress and control. When Adolf Hitler took office in 1933 with a minority of the popular vote, the Nazis controlled less than 3% of Germany’s 4,700 newspapers. However, the special decrees that enforced censorship under the emerging one-party system effectively caused hundreds of papers produced by outlawed political parties to close. During the following months, the Nazis established control over the large majority of independent press organizations.

Using their control of radio, press and newsreels to build fears of the enemies within Germany enabled the Nazis to manipulate the public into political measures that destroyed Germany’s already fragile civil liberties and democracy. Nazi thugs were licensed to unlawfully attack opposing political party offices, destroying printing presses and newspapers.


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