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Joseph Goebbels: Two Speeches on the Tasks of the Reich Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda (March 15 / March 25, 1933)

After the new Reich Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda was established on March 13, 1933, Joseph Goebbels was charged with “coordinating” and controlling the content of the press, art, film, music, and literature. To put radio in the service of the regime, Goebbels dissolved the independent broadcasting corporations that had existed up until then and replaced them with a Reich station. In the following speeches of March 15 and March 25, 1933, the new Reich Minister explained that his aim was the spiritual mobilization of the general population and that this, when achieved, would be tantamount to a national revolution. Goebbels regarded radio as the most important vehicle for the propaganda that would help him along the way. For this reason, he arranged for the mass production of the “People’s Receiver” [Volksempfänger], a cheap radio that would allow even the poorest strata of the population to be included in his propaganda revolution.

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I. Speech to the Press on the Establishment of a Reich Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda (March 15, 1933)

I see in the setting up of the new Ministry of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda by the Government a revolutionary act in so far as the new Government no longer intends to leave the people to their own devices. This government is in the truest sense of the word a people's government. It arose out of the people and will always execute the will of the people. I reject most passionately the idea that this government stands for reactionary aims, that we are reactionaries. [ . . . ] We want to give the people their due, though admittedly in another form than occurred under parliamentary democracy.

In the newly-established Ministry of Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda I envisage the link between regime and people, the living contact between the national government, as the expression of the people's will, and the people themselves. In the past few weeks we have seen an increasing coordination between Reich policy and the policy of the states, and in the same way I view the first task of the new Ministry as being to establish coordination between the Government and the whole people. If this government is determined never and under no circumstances to give way, then it has no need of the lifeless power of the bayonet, and in the long run will not be content with 52 per cent behind it and with terrorizing the remaining 48 per cent, but will see its most immediate task as being to win over that remaining 48 per cent.

[ . . . ]

It is not enough for people to be more or less reconciled to our regime, to be persuaded to adopt a neutral attitude towards us; rather we want to work on people until they have capitulated to us, until they grasp ideologically that what is happening in Germany today not only must be accepted but also can be accepted.

[ . . . ]

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