Western men have become brainless sheep. They bleat how they’re told. Even for those white nationalists who are beginning to awaken to the realities of this age of treason, the name of Adolf Hitler rings a giant Pavlovian bell. But once we defrock ourselves from the sheep Hitler’s words become more commonsensical than what we expected... This translation of the unexpurgated edition of Mein Kampf was first published on March 21st, 1939 (no ellipsis added between unquoted paragraphs):
Chapter “War Propaganda”
In watching the course of political events I was always struck by the active part which propaganda played in them. I saw that it was an instrument, which the Marxist Socialists knew how to handle in a masterly way and how to put it to practical uses. Thus I soon came to realize that the right use of propaganda was an art in itself and that this art was practically unknown to our bourgeois parties. It was during the War, however, that we had the best chance of estimating the tremendous results which could be obtained by a propagandist system properly carried out. Here again, unfortunately, everything was left to the other side, the work done on our side being worse than insignificant.
The lack on our side was exploited by the enemy in such an efficient manner that one could say it showed itself as a real work of genius. In that propaganda carried on by the enemy I found admirable sources of instruction. The lesson to be learned from this had unfortunately no attraction for the geniuses on our own side. They were simply above all such things, too clever to accept any teaching.
When nations are fighting for their existence on this earth, when the question of ‘to be or not to be’ has to be answered, then all humane and æsthetic considerations must be set aside; for these ideals do not exist of themselves somewhere in the air but are the product of man’s creative imagination and disappear when he disappears. All such ideals are only of secondary importance when a nation is struggling for its existence. They must be prevented from entering into the struggle the moment they threaten to weaken the stamina of the nation that is waging war. That is always the only visible effect whereby their place in the struggle is to be judged. The second question of decisive importance is this: To whom should propaganda be made to appeal? To the educated intellectual classes? Or to the less intellectual?
Propaganda must always address itself to the broad masses of the people.
The purpose of propaganda is not the personal instruction of the individual, but rather to attract public attention to certain things, the importance of which can be brought home to the masses only by this means.
All propaganda must be presented in a popular form and must fix its intellectual level so as not to be above the heads of the least intellectual of those to whom it is directed. Thus its purely intellectual level will have to be that of the lowest mental common denominator among the public it is desired to reach. The art of propaganda consists precisely in being able to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses. Once we have understood how necessary it is to concentrate the persuasive forces of propaganda on the broad masses of the people, the following lessons result therefrom:
The receptive powers of the masses are very restricted, and their understanding is feeble. On the other hand, they quickly forget. Such being the case, all effective propaganda must be confined to a few bare essentials and those must be expressed as far as possible in stereotyped formulas. These slogans should be persistently repeated until the very last individual has come to grasp the idea that has been put forward. If this principle be forgotten and if an attempt be made to be abstract and general, the propaganda will turn out ineffective; for the public will not be able to digest or retain what is offered to them in this way.
British and American war propaganda was psychologically efficient. By picturing the Germans to their own people as Barbarians and Huns, they were preparing their soldiers for the horrors of war and safeguarding them against illusions. The most terrific weapons which those soldiers encountered in the field merely confirmed the information that they had already received and their belief in the truth of the assertions made by their respective governments was accordingly reinforced. Thus their rage and hatred against the infamous foe was increased.
The worst of all was that our people did not understand the very first condition which has to be fulfilled in every kind of propaganda; namely, a systematically one-sided attitude towards every problem that has to be dealt with. What, for example, should we say of a poster which purported to advertise some new brand of soap by insisting on the excellent qualities of the competitive brands? We should naturally shake our heads. And it ought to be just the same in a similar kind of political advertisement. The aim of propaganda is not to try to pass judgment on conflicting rights, giving each its due, but exclusively to emphasize the right which we are asserting.
Propaganda must not investigate the truth objectively and, in so far as it is favourable to the other side, present it according to the theoretical rules of justice; yet it must present only that aspect of the truth which is favourable to its own side. It was a fundamental mistake to discuss the question of who was responsible for the outbreak of the war and declare that the sole responsibility could not be attributed to Germany. The sole responsibility should have been laid on the shoulders of the enemy, without any discussion whatsoever.
The masses are not in a position to discern where the enemy’s fault ends and where our own begins. Could there be any clearer proof of this than the fact that finally our own people believed what was said by the enemy’s propaganda, which was uniform and consistent in its assertions, rather than what our own propaganda said? And that, of course, was increased by the mania for objectivity which addicts our people.
Everybody began to be careful about doing an injustice to the enemy, even at the cost of seriously injuring, and even ruining his own people and State. Naturally the masses were not conscious of the fact that those in authority had failed to study the subject from this angle.
The great majority of a nation is so feminine in its character and outlook that its thought and conduct are ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning. This sentiment, however, is not complex, but simple and consistent. It is not highly differentiated, but has only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood. Its notions are never partly this and partly that. English propaganda especially understood this in a marvellous way and put what they understood into practice. They allowed no half-measures which might have given rise to some doubt. Proof of how brilliantly they understood that the feeling of the masses is something primitive was shown in their policy of publishing tales of horror and outrages which fitted in with the real horrors of the time, thereby cleverly and ruthlessly preparing the ground for moral solidarity at the front, even in times of great defeats.
The effectiveness of this kind of propaganda is well illustrated by the fact that after four-and-a-half years, not only was the enemy still carrying on his propagandist work, but it was already undermining the stamina of our people at home. That our propaganda did not achieve similar results is not to be wondered at, because it had the germs of inefficiency lodged in its very being by reason of its ambiguity.
No matter what an amount of talent employed in the organization of propaganda, it will have no result if due account is not taken of these fundamental principles. Propaganda must be limited to a few simple themes and these must be represented again and again. Here, as in innumerable other cases, perseverance is the first and most important condition of success. Its chief function is to convince the masses, whose slowness of understanding needs to be given time in order that they may absorb information; and only constant repetition will finally succeed in imprinting an idea on the memory of the crowd.
Then one will be rewarded by the surprising and almost incredible results that such a persistent policy secures.