Copyright © 2021

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Third Reich syndrome

Propaganda has only one face. The basic characteristic of propagandist media is unipolarity. It is thanks to the directed unilateral portrayal of events that media stop doing their informative functions and turn into propaganda “mouthpieces.” This is the principle Russian media are following today.

Just like Third Reich media in their own time. 

After the Nazis took power in 1933, Hitler created the Ministry of Propaganda and National Education, headed by Joseph Goebbels. The Ministry was charged with the fact of implementing Nazi ideals into the masses through media and art.

The Reich law on October 4th, 1933 declared journalism a social profession; in this light it was prescribed that publishers had to be German citizens, with Aryan heritage and not be married to Jewish individuals. Part 14 of the press law prescribed the editors “not to publish in newspapers that which may somehow deceive the reader, mix egoistic goals with social ones and lead to the weakening of the German Reich grandeur from the inside our outside, to the undermining of the will of the German people, German defense, its culture and economy, as well as everything that offends the honor and dignity of Germany.”

This way Nazi Germany filtered the media and built a new model of information space at the state level.

Newspaper editors and journalists gathered at the Propaganda Ministry on a daily basis to listen to the words of Dr. Goebbels. To avoid any misunderstanding, a daily directive was issued in print, as and oral recommendations were given.

It is notable that it is in the reports from the front made by Nazi Germany, photos of killed German soldiers appeared for the first time in history. Such realism of what is happening on the front evoked waves of hatred and anger among the Germans. By manipulating their conscious, the propagandist imposed a sense of fear onto them and visualized the image of the main enemy – the source of war.

Are we not seeing a similar picture in Russian media?

Goebbels was right when betting on the media. Mass media are undoubtedly the most effective propaganda instrument.

One of those condemned to the death penalty during the Nuremberg Trials, exclusively for propaganda in print, was Julius Streicher, Gauleiter of Franconia, editor in chief of the anti-Semitic and anti-Communist newspaper “Der Stürmer,” an ideologist of racism. Real participation in making decisions regarding war and genocide was equated to inciting international animosity through the media. Julius Streicher’s victims were millions of people in whose hearts he managed to evoke love for Nazism.

Propagandist mottos appeared not only in the media, but on posters as well.

However, the USSR used identical subjects and Nazi mottos in time. Today they have been resurrected on the posters of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk. Even with a naked eye one can note the similarity between PRD posters and the posters of Nazi Germany and the USSR.

The results of a written survey of prisoners conducted by the American psychological war department are exemplary.

Out of the POW’s surveyed in August 1944, over heal believed in Germany’s final victory. As the situation became more and more critical, their numbers waned, however in November they grew to 50% once more. Already in January 1945 the number of those who were convinced of Germany’s victory constituted 40% of those surveyed.

The number of those who believed in Hitler’s genius as a commander constituted about 60%, in November this number grew and then fell to its minimum, about 30% of all those surveyed. That Germany would receive a miraculous weapon was believed by half of all those surveyed between November and January.

Such high percentages of support of the Nazi government could only be achieved through total propagandist policies. The reality for those people was only that which had been imposed on them by cynical falsifiers of the truth.

The fall of the Nazi army and international condemnation of the Führer’s actions were unable to convince the zombified population to cross to the opposing side to the fascist regime. Human nature has not changed since then.

Today we are bearing witness to the rebirth of principles and mechanics of the Third Reich in Russia. The propaganda machine of the Russian media managed to aggressively bait millions of Russians against Ukrainians within a short period of time.

We see such aggression on social networks, forums, in print. It is practically impossible to establish contact with someone who has a deformed consciousness. This is the main danger of propaganda, and it is much more powerful than physical means of warfare.

Journalists and editors of Russian propaganda publications are just as responsible for what is happening as military commanders which are giving out orders to destroy people.

And even if formally their hands “are not stained in blood,” de facto the number of their victims is counted by millions.

Tetyana Popova, exclusively for Ukrainska Pravda

Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina

You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!