To what extent did propaganda influence Nazi consolidation of power 1933-1939?

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To what extent did propaganda influence Nazi consolidation of power 1933-1939?

The Nazi regime in Germany implemented itself swiftly and effectively - the National Socialists had only three Nazis in a cabinet of twelve in January 1933, yet within two months Hitler had consolidated his political power by entirely legal means . With this, came the need for support from the German public. For a regime to 'consolidate' its power people could be too afraid to rebel against it, or they could be convinced of the value of the regime, or a combination of both. In the National Socialist era, the latter was used. In the period of 1933-1939, this was achieved by a number of methods, notably the use of propaganda, the various legislative and administrative changes, Hitler's personal charisma, the achievement of economic recovery and the 'reign of terror'. The extent to which each contributed to the consolidation of National Socialist regime is an issue that has remained in discussion, and is to be addressed in this essay.

Although the relative importance of factors is in debate, it is certain that propaganda was one of the major causes of consolidation of power. As the historian Ian Kershaw emphasises, "It was plain from the beginning that the regime would attach a high priority to the steering of opinion ." However, the exact extent that propaganda affected the Nazi consolidation of power is extremely difficult to gauge, for a number of reasons. For instance, although the Nazi film 'Triumph of the Will' by Leni Riefenstahl may have been a success (and regarded as a brilliant achievement in today's film industry), there is no evidence to suggest that the film depicting Nazi strength affected a great deal of people. For instance, many Germans felt the film was too long and was extremely repetitive. In addition, market research was non-existent, and there were very few non-Gestapo polls to analyse the success of this enormous propaganda campaign, which was conducted primarily by one man.

Joseph Goebbels, master propagandist of the Nazi regime was seen as man who represented the propaganda campaign. As he said himself on 25th March 1933 "The Ministry has the task of achieving a mobilisation of mind and spirit in Germany. " It was Goebbels that created the 'Hitler myth' - which portrayed an image of the Messiah-like figure and a man who was the saviour of Germany, in line with the publicising of the economy and so forth.
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