Joseph Goebbels was Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister and the real “hidden power of the throne” in the Nazi world.
He is considered to be the strategist who converted a fringe group into a gigantic mass movement, with the terrible consequences we all know.
Goebbels’ questionable skills were to have identified various mechanisms of suggestion and to have implemented very effective tactics of manipulation.
In Nazi Germany, citizens ended up being part of a pathological political project, while internally they felt themselves bearers of universal truths.
You may think that this is history and that the facts eventually unmask the implicit insanity of the Nazi regime, but the reality shows otherwise.
The patterns of manipulation implanted at that time are still in force and used in politics to capture the consciousness of citizens.
How do you recognize these obscure tactics?
We are going to review the eleven principles of propaganda used by Goebbels so that you will know if they coincide with the practices of certain current policies.
1. The principle of simplification and the single enemy : Choose an adversary and insist that it is the source of the evil. For example: immigrants, the right or the left.
2. The principle of the contagion method : To associate all the opponents in the same category, denying the nuances and putting them in a single group: that of the single enemy. For example: Muslims or terrorists.
3. The principle of transposition : Accuse the adversary of his own errors and faults, incisively. The thief calls his opponent thief so that when he answers, he is perceived as the classic “asphyxiated who wriggles”.
4. The principle of exaggeration and disfigurement : To transform any anecdote, however small and banal, into a fact which depends on the survival of the society.
We try to ensure that each act of the opponent is seen as suspicious or threatening.
5. The principle of popularization : “All propaganda must be popular, adapting its level to the least intelligent of the individuals towards whom it is directed.
The greater the mass to be convinced, the smaller the mental effort to be made.
The receptive capacity of the masses is limited and their understanding weak. In addition, the masses have a great facility to forget ”.
6. The principle of orchestration : “Propaganda must be limited to a small number of ideas and the fact of repeating them over and over again, presenting them over and over again, from different perspectives but which always end up arriving at the same concept. Without cracks or doubts ”.
This is where the famous phrases also come from: “If a lie is repeated enough, it ends up turning into a truth” and “Lie, lie, lie and it will happen.
The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it ”.
7. The principle of renovation : It consists in publishing news and ideas which denigrate the adversaries, in a very strong and very fast way.
Thus, the opponent will only defend himself permanently.
8. The principle of likelihood : Present information apparently supplied by solid sources, but which is basically disputed or only partially demonstrated.
It is a question of creating a great confusion which the citizens will tend to solve by the simplest explanation. “A lie that cannot be denied is worth more than an implausible truth”.
9. The principle of silence : It is a question of not carrying out debates on the topics on which one has no arguments and, at the same time, to make pale those which favor the adversary.
“If you can’t deny the bad news, invent some to distract attention”.
10. The principle of transfusion : Using national or cultural myths and prejudices to awaken a visceral component that encourages determined political practices. And make sure that ideas end up being replaced by primitive emotions.
11. The principle of unanimity : Convince citizens that they think “like everyone else”, thus creating a false unanimity. The instinctive desire to belong to a group will do the rest.
The scheme of Goebbels and his followers is complemented by charismatic leaders and highly emotional and very straightforward slogans.
There are also high impact rituals where sound and color are very important.
All this allows free citizens to be immersed in a kind of hypnosis that only wakes them up when it is already too late.
Image by SujaImages