Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

The research was supported by Calvin College, which provided a sabbatical, other time for travel and research, and an environment conducive to writing because one has something to say rather than because one has to. The archivists and librarians at the Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR im Bundesarchiv in Berlin oversee a pleasant working environment, and they know their holdings. ...

Terms and Abbreviations

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p. xi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-10

A pastor who lived through the Third Reich described his meetings with Nazi officials in a way that illuminates life in totalitarian societies: “[O]ne would be pushed further, step by step, until he had crossed over the line, without noticing that his spine was being bent millimeter by millimeter.”1 The Nazis he met with knew that persuasion is a gradual process with ...

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Chapter 1: SECULAR FAITHS

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pp. 11-40

At the last congress of the GDR writers’ association in 1987, Jürgen Kucyzinski, the perennial tolerated troublemaker of the GDR, wished for a socialist equivalent of prayer: “I have looked in vain for a substitute for prayer that could remind us, despite all the troubles we have and the barriers we encounter each day, or at least each week, of the greatness of ...

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Chapter 2: DOCTRINES

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pp. 41-56

Although National Socialism and Marxism-Leninism were quasi-religious worldviews with absolute claims to truth, they developed significantly different theoretical approaches to propaganda. Nazism was not fond of theory at all. Convoluted academic books were written on various aspects of Nazi ideology during the Third Reich, but Nazism’s ...

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Chapter 3: HIERARCHIES

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pp. 57-70

On 30 March 1945 Joseph Goebbels was complaining to Adolf Hitler about ineffective propaganda produced by Otto Dietrich and Robert Ley.1 Goebbels never quite succeeded in persuading Hitler to grant him the full authority he craved. Unlike the GDR’s propaganda, which had clear lines of authority, Nazi propaganda displayed organizational confusion. ...

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Chapter 4: EVANGELISTS

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pp. 71-88

Both the Nazis and the GDR developed substantial central propaganda bureaucracies that determined the general content of propaganda. These bureaucracies alone could never have maintained thorough systems of control. To do that, both systems depended on large numbers of propagandists at lower levels to carry out their activities. Participating in the system ...

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Chapter 5: MAPS OF REALITY

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pp. 89-108

Grigory Aleksandrovich Potemkin, lover and adviser to Empress Catherine the Great, had a problem in 1787. The empress was to tour an area into which he had sunk considerable sums of her money with limited results. After careful preparation, Potemkin presented Catherine with a facade of success, though he did not build the literal Potemkin villages of ...

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Chapter 6: ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

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pp. 109-130

People may attend to the news, no matter how influenced it is by propaganda, from an understandable desire to make sense of the world around them. The popular arts are different. Their popularity is influenced by matters of taste, style, and personal preference. Moreover, there are other options for leisure than popular arts. The Third Reich and the GDR ...

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Chapter 7: PUBLIC AND PRIVATE LIFE

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pp. 131-154

Bending spines takes steady pressure in every area of life. Jacques Ellul observes: “Propaganda tries to surround man by all possible routes, in the realm of feelings as well as ideas, by playing on his will or on his needs, through his conscious and his unconscious, assailing him in both his private and his public life.”1 I have earlier discussed the quasi-religious nature ...

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Chapter 8: THE FAILURE OF PROPAGANDA

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pp. 155-170

The propagandas of the Third Reich and the GDR failed. Both had as their goal better and lasting worlds populated by new kinds of human beings. The Third Reich survived twelve years, the GDR forty. Both collapsed absolutely, the Third Reich by military force, the GDR through a gradual decline that became suddenly evident when its citizens realized ...

Notes

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pp. 171-204

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 205-222

Index

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pp. 223-228